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tv   MSNBC Special Coverage  MSNBC  August 24, 2013 12:00pm-4:00pm EDT

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remarks of those from congress who have spoken before me. that's officially. personally it is my very personal pleasure to be here with each and every one of you because i was here 50 years ago. so who among you is going to be the speaker of the house, the president of the united states or whatever. you're a beautiful sight to behold, and at that time 50 years ago we heard dr. king inspire us with the "i have a dream" part of his speech, the part that was the call to action was the fierce urgency of now part of his speech. in that time dr. king says we refuse to take the tranquillity drug of gradualism. we must move forward, and forward we will.
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if it was fiercely then urgent, it certainly is now. 50 years ago there were only five african-american members of the house of representatives. there was no congressional black cauc caucus. today there are 43 members. we want more but there are 43. they're led by congresswoman marsha fudge who you heard from and they are the conscience of the congress. in that blauk caucus we have the privilege of serving with john lewis, some of us for over 25 years in the congress, and aren't we proud of that. i also want to mention that 50 years ago, though he was not a member of congress at the time that john conyers was one of three people invited to the white house to meet with president john f. kennedy following the civil rights march, the march for jobs, justice and freedom, who is with
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us. 50 years ago we had the first catholic president in the white house. today we have the first african-american president and the first african-american first family leading our country so beautifully from the white house. you know we come together here at a time when there is a monument to reverend martin luther king on the mall. here he sits with presidents of the united states so appropriately. we have a day set aside as a national holiday to celebrate his birthday. but he would want us to celebrate him, his birth and his legacy by acting upon his agenda, by realizing the dream, by making the minimum wage a living wage, by having not just family and medical leave, but paid sick leave for our workers,
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by having quality affordable child care so that our families can be -- the power of women can be unleashed in our economy and in our society. and do you know what? this just happens to be women's equality weekend. when women succeed, america succeeds. when people of color succeed, america succeeds. he would also want us to be fighting for voting rights. certainly we must pass a bill in the congress to correct what the supreme court did, but we must also be sure that every person who is eligible to vote can vote and that their vote would be counted. when i was here 50 years ago, people said -- and that includes voting rights for the district of columbia. when i was here 50 years ago people say, what do you remember most? and the music is playing, so
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i'll say this. dr. king said this 50 years ago, the music of the march, the harmony of the civil rights movement, the notes of dr. king's inspirational words must continue to inspire us to compose as dr. king said on that august afternoon a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. are you ready to beat the drum for that beautiful symphony of brotherhood? are you ready to realize the dream? thank you all very much. >> that was representative nancy pelosi. she has represented california's 12th district for more than 25 years. she is, of course, the first woman speaker of the house. i am joined now here at the table by msnbc's own ed schultz who addressed this crowd earlier
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in the day. >> melissa, good to be here. a great experience to see all these people here all over america. it's absolutely fantastic. great experience. >> hold for just one moment. it is true live television. i'm hearing there are various folks coming, but not yet. tell me, what was it like for you earlier to address this crowd? >> i think it's important personally to get up there and when you talk to talk about your personal experiences, talk about some things that have been impressionable in your life when it comes to diversity and civil rights, and when i was 9 years old, of course, dr. king was doing the march here. then i went to an integrated high school, forced busing for racial equality. i talked about that. and i see a movement away from diversity right now in public education. last night i was in birmingham, alabama, did a radio town hall. some of the stories that i'm hearing about what schools are
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being resourced and what schools aren't. it's unbelievable that 50 years after the march we still have a long way to government my message was that diversity is our strength as a country. when we start picking and choosing neighborhoods which we're seeing in major metropolitan areas because the tax base is not as strong as it should be because of income and equality, that income and equality bleeds down into the educational system. so it strangless the chance of young kids in certain school districts. we have to watch out for that. yesterday president obama was talking about early child care. what message are we sending to young people in america when your school doesn't get fully resourced, when we have a political party that attacks teachers, that finds problems with public education instead of mending the fences and realizing that every child in america has the potential to learn if we are the professionals and make sure that the schools are resourced.
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>> of course, public education has been the engine for social mobility in america. without it there is no possibility of moving. >> the main thing here is that we need to send a message to the next generation that this fight is not over, that income and equality and equality in schools still has to be achieved because that is the key to closing the gap. you're not going to close the gap overnight when it comes to income and equality. >> hold for me just one moment. murley evers is addressing the crowd now, the widow of medgar evers. >> unfortunately for me i was unable to make the first march on washington and i never really got over that until president obama said please lead us in the invocation, and that was in january of this year. thank you reverend sharpton and
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others for asking me to lend a few words to this most precious gatheri gathering as i look out at the crowd, i find myself saying, what are we doing today? where have we come from? what has been accomplished and where do we go from this point forwa forward? i think of one theme that has been played over and over in the past few months and it's one that bring great controversy. stand your ground. and we can think of standing your ground in the negative, but i ask you today to flip that
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coin and make stand your ground a positive ring for all of us who believe in freedom and justice and equality, that we stand firm on the ground that we have already made and be sure that nothing is taken away from us because there are efforts to turn back the clock of freedom. and i ask you today will you allow that to happen? take the words "stand your ground" in a positive sense. stand your ground in terms of fighting for justice and equality. we've had wonderful speakers here and will have even more who will outline those things to you, but i think you know what i
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mean. stake a negative and make a positive out of it. assess where we are today, assess where we are come from, assess where we can go. standing our ground for justice, for freedom, for equality, and i stand here today and i ask the question ain't i a woman? where are the women that need to be acknowledged in this movement for freedom and justice? we must not forget them. we must not forget coretta scott king. we must not forget betty shebaz. we must not forget all of the other women who poured in the sweat and the tears to move us
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further. so if you do nothing else, if you take nothing else from my heart and what i have said, stand your ground for freedom and justice and do whatever is necessary that's legal to move this country forward, because we are on standstill today. standstill that looks toward the back, and we must not have that. and i think of us as trees in a forest of people, trees with a network of roots that reach far and that reach deep. the strength of a tree comes from its roots. we have young people in here today who were not born.
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people who have embraced the movement of justice and equality for all. stand by them, guide them, for those of my generation i say to you, sometimes it's necessary to step aside just a little bit, reach out a hand and bring up these young leaders that we have for we need them in america today. this is our country and we are the trees standing tall for justi justice, and we realize that the deeper we place our roots in this society, the less afraid we are to say to those who represent us, you do represent us and we will hold you accountable for all of the things because we are the trees and we have the roots through the strength and the power to
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turn things around. never become so depressed that we think we can't make it. 50 years ago dr. king and so many others helped to show us the way and give us the strength to move forward. i stand here today to be thankful to be 80 years of age and see all of those changes that have taken place and realize that there were people like dr. king and so many others and yes, medgar evers who gave a life and lives for justice and equality. let us move forward, i'm going to move off the stage because i hear the music being played, but i thank you for your time, i thank you for attention and i am thankful to be here with you
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today. >> myrli evers, the wife of medgar evers killed just weeks before the march on washington. i'm melissa perry lee here with ed schultz for the 50th anniversary for the march on washington. >> the message this is our country, it's only our country within the rules when we function and stay involved to make sure it's our country. i think these speeches that are being given are to the point, they're inspiring in a historical perspective. it makes us understand what the fight is going forward. intellectual curiosity is something our young people have to understand. we can't have a dumbing down of
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society and not understand the importance of what was done here 50 years ago and where we are today and now we have to pick the torch up and move it forward. it's only our country if we make it our moment. >> this is congressman john lewis, the only living speaker from the 1963 march on washington here to address this crowd. >> 50 years ago, 50 years ago i stood right here in this spot, 23 years old, had all of my hair and a few pounds lighter. so i come back here again to say that those days for the most part are gone, but we have another fight. we must stand up and fight the good fight as we march today for
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there are forces, there are people who are going to take us back. we cannot go back. we've come too far. we want to go forward. back in 196300 dreads and thousands and millions of our brothers and sisters could not register to vote. when i stood here 50 years ago, i said one man, one vote is the african cry. it is ours, too. it must be ours. i also said some people tell us to wait, tell us to be patient. i said 50 years later we cannot wait. we cannot be patient. we want jobs and our freedom now. all of us, it doesn't matter whether we're black or white, latino, asian-american or native american. it doesn't matter whether we're straight or gay. we're one people. we're one family. we're one house. we all live in the same house.
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so i say to you my brothers and sisters, we cannot give up, we cannot give out, we can cannot give in. we must get out there and push and pull. i a few short years ago, almost 48 years ago, almost 50 years ago, i gave a little blood on that bridge in selma, alabama, for the right to vote. i am not going to stand by and let the supreme court take the right to vote away from us. you cannot stand by. you cannot sit down. you have to stand up, speak up, speak out and get in the way. make some noise.
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the vote is precious. it is almost sacred i. it's the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society and we've got to use it. back in 1963 we didn't have a cellular telephone, ipad, ipod, but we used what we had to bring about a non-violent revolution. and i said to all of the young people, you must get out there and push and pull and make america what america should be for all of us. we must say to the congress fix the voting act. we must say to the congress pass comprehensive immigration reform. it doesn't make sense that naa
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million of our people are living in the shadows. bring them out into the life and set them on a path to citizenship. so hang in there. keep the faith, i got arrested 40 times during the '60s, beaten, bloodied and unconscious. i'm not tired, i'm not weary. i'm not prepared to sit down and give up. i am ready to fight and continue to fight, and you must fight. thank you very much. >> congressman john lewis. congressman john lewis, the only living speaker from the 1963 march on washington just addressed the crowd. there is no person, ed, with greater moral authority on these issues than congressman lewis. sf sf . >> no doubt about it. he speaks from the heart, speaks from the soul of what has to be
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done in america. he made a profound point, no fax machines, no cell phones, no social media. he's appealing to the heart, to the soul of the people of what has to be done. all the tools are in front of us to make this happen for the next generation. it's a real great challenge. i thought it was a fabulous speech. >> the next speaker, randy wi winegarder in, president of the union of teachers. >> august 28, 1963, dr. martin luther king, junior, and thousands of others marched on washington for jobs and freedom. congressman john lewis was the youngest speecher and now 50 years later, i am the youngest speaker. [ cheers and applause ]
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>> and i am marching for education, justice and freedom. all over the country public education is under attack. public schools are closing in african-american and latino communities. in chicago we had 50 school closings in african-american and latino communities. budget cuts in all public schools and increase in charter school budgets and new charter school openings. every child deserves a great education. [ cheers and applause ] every school deserves equal funding and resources. i encourage all of you to keep dr. martin luther king junior's dream alive. help us fight for freedom, racial equality, jobs, public education because i have a dream
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that we shall over come. >> an internet sensation. weeks ago there were protests in chicago, illinois because of the budget cuts that were taking place in the city. this young man guided by his mother and educated by his mother stepped up in front of a crowd and stole the moment in chicago and made people realize that kids are paying attention. he became an internet sensation. he's a very intelligent young man. we brought him down to the essence festival in new orleans. he is so impressive and he is driven. his main message is every child must have the resources. he sees at a young age there are some schools being resourced and other schools that are not. i asked him when we were
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traveling down to new orleans do you understand now you're in the eye of the storm. this kid is a gift from god. this kid is a gift to america's democracy and a young voice that i think we're going to hear for years to come. >> he just made history. he just became the youngest speaker to march on washington 2013, coming after john lewis, the youngest speaker 50 years ago. >> i want you to know this kid, he knows it and he believes it. he is so genuine. he's a little football player, too. i said what position do you play? he says i'm all over the place. >> exactly. >> confidence just pours off this young man. he was very pointed about ram emanuel. he was asking the mayor of chicago why are you doing this to our schools? he was challenging authority and
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challenging the decisions that were being made. he has really been a leader. he has proven that leaders come in all shapes, sizes and age. how refreshing it is. >> a reminder of the legacy, 50 years ago, the march on washington immediately on the heels of the birmingham children's crusade. it was young people just like asean johnson who led the way and al thousand dollar the moral authority to occur. not just a future leader, but our leader right now. we must follow him right now. >> i was in birmingham last night and i heard similar voices just like asean johnson, the call for young people to get engaged, the call for young people to pay attention to what's going on and understand that there is an inequity taking place. there are resources for some schools and not to others. that was my message earlier, when the kids are recognizing it, if they recognize that at a
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young age, we've got some real correcting to do. >> of course, we are listening now to randi weingarten of the american federation of teachers. she's there next to asean johnson because of the continuing fight for labor questions, for teachers all around the country. >> in districts that fail to invest in public education, that turn their back on public schools. we can't let asean down. we can't let generations of students down. that is my we march. that is we march. that is why we march! >> let's give asean another round of applause. he is our future, isn't he? [ applause ] >> you know, in 1963 afsmi members were part of the
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historic march on washington for jobs and justice. juanita steel was one of them. now juanita is 81 years old. sister steel, a former day care teacher from new york city is here today participating in this march for justice and freedom and jobs. 50 years ago sister steele prayed that the march would change hearts and minds. she listened. she listened as dr. king spoke about the fierce urgency, the fierce urgency of now, the whirl winds of change, the new militancy. five years later she mournd with all of us when dr. king was killed in memphis, where he had gone to support the 1300 sanitation workers of afsme local 723. decades have changed, times have changed, the new militancy of
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1963 changed america and inspired the world. but the promise of democracy has not been made real for all of us. the promise is not real for people who work hard and play by the rules every single day, struggle to pay the bills. the promise is not real for retirees who work hard all their lives but don't now how they'll make it day to day. the promise is not real for students who graduate under so much debt they wonder if they'll ever climb out of it and the promise is not real for all of us. if it's not real for all of us, it's not real for any of us. we are here to replenish our spirit, restore our faith and renew our activism today. today we march for a nation of workers with decent pay, good benefits and rights on a job
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that no one can steal. today we march for a nation where the golden years of retirement are spent in peace, not in poverty. today we march for a nation where our children, no matter what they look like, where they live or what they wear can walk our streets in freedom and not in fear. today we march for a nation where we can cast our votes and have a say in our democracy without jumping through hoops. we march for a nation whereas spirg citizens are respected as moms and dads, sons and daughters and neighbors who contribute to america. we can't just march for this nation. we have to do whatever we can to build it. don't let this moment pass. make this moment count. don't simply commemorate. agitate. don't only memorialize. mobilize. take this spirit. take this spirited back to your
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communities, your neighborhoods, your schools. take this spirit back and keep it alive. take this spirit back and let us raise our voices together. let us demand justice together. let us demand fairness together. and together let us restore the american dream. >> lee saunders, the president of afsme, took over for jerry mcatee who retired after 40 years in that position. lee saunders, a very emotional speaker. their big focus is what has unfolded in detroit, protecting the pensions of people attacked by a financial manager. they were affected by the changes of what took place in detroit. they've been spending a lot of time trying to straighten that out. >> a reminder 50 years ago this was a march for jobs and
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freedom, organized largely by a. phillip randolph, the great labor leader and the issue of union rights, labor rights, workers rights has always been deeply interconnected with civil rights in this country. >> there's no question about it. the unions are a little nervous as this continuing attack on collective bargaining, continual attack and the introduction of legislation in right to work states, this is being introduced. local elections are taking ahold and attacking workers and depressing wages. this is a big part of what afsme has been focusing on. they're at the pinnacle of the fight right now of what's going on in michigan. >> it's almost impossible to imagine how we can talk about closing a racial inequality gap without also talking at the exact same time about the economic equality that is so critical in our nation. >> the economic inequality starts with education. you're not going to be able to
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close the gap of income inequality through a totally different taxation of the american people. i don't believe you can do that overnight. i believe you can bend the curve over time. this is a generational fight and a generational investment that needs to be made if we truly are going to address income inequality in this country which severely affects minorities in america. we're talking about education investment. we're talking about infrastructure investment. we're talking about job training, talking about a philosophy to keep jobs here in america. all of this ties in, and there are so many attacks taking place on our rights right now in america. the most recent, the voting rights. in preparation -- >> let's pause. martin luther king, iii, is
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about to address this crowd. five decades ago, my father, dr. martin luther king, j., stood on this hallowed spot. the spirit of god summoned a nation to repent and address the shameful sins long visited upon its african-american brothers and sisters. 50 years ago he delivered a sermon on this mountain which crystallized like never before, the painful pilgrimage, aching aspirations of african-americans yearning to breathe free in our own homeland. but martin luther king, junior's
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utterings of 1963 were neither forlorn laments of past injustices nor a despeiering diatribe of cruel conditions of the day. no indeed. his words are etched in eternity and echo through the ages to us today, were a tribute to the tenacity of an intrepid people who, though oppressed, refused to remain in bondage. those words of martin luther king, junior, were a clarion call to all people of good will to rise up together to make this nation live out the true meaning of its creed and to perfect within us a more perfect union. and so i stand here today in this sacred place, in my father's footsteps. i am humbled by the heavy hand of history, but more than that,
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i am -- i, like you, continue to feel his presence. i, like you, continue to hear his voice crying out in the wilderness. the admonition is clear. this is not the time for a nostalgic commemoration, nor is this the time for self-congratulatory celebration. the task is not done, the journey is not complete. we can and we must do more. the vision preached by my father a half century ago was that his four little children would one day live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. however, sadly, the tears of trayvon martin's mother and father remind us that far too frequently the color of one's skin remains a license to profile, to arrest and to even
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murder with no regard for the content of one's character. aggressive stand your ground laws must be repealed. federal anti-profiling legislation must be enacted. comprehensive immigration reform must be adopted to end the harassment of our brown brothers and sisters and to provide a path to citizenship for them today just as was done for the millions who passed through ellis island's splendid gate yesterday. 50 years ago my father insisted that we could not rest and be satisfied as long as black folk in mississippi could not vote and those in new york believed that they had nothing for which to vote. today the united states supreme court having recently eviscerating the voting rights act and with numerous states
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clamoring to legislative codify voting suppression measures, not only must we not be satisfied, but we must fight back boldly. too many of our unknown heroes and sheroes fought for us to have the precious right for us to vote for us to sit back and timidly allow our franchise to be taken away or diminished. we must not rest until the congress of the united states restores the voting rights acted protections discarded by a supreme court blind to the blatant theft of the black vote. paramount to martin luther king junior's fervent dream was the commitment that african-americans gained full economic opportunity and not be confined to basic mobility from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. today with 12% unemployment rates in the african-american community and 38% of all
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children of color in this country living below the level of poverty, we know the dream is far from being realized. with the ones mighty city of detroit in the throes of bankruptcy and countless other cities teetering on the brink, there is a fierce urgency to act now. if the big automakers and major financial institutions were too big and too important to fail, why is not the same true of the major urban centers which are populated by millions of poor black and brown and whites hungering for nothing more than a decent job to provide for themselves and their families? why shouldn't historically black colleges and universities desperate for financial stability be given the assistance which will enable them to continue theiroble mission of educating both the best, brightest as well as the
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least of these? as we struggle to recover from the worst economical lambity since the great oppression, america needs a new marshall plan for our cities to provide jobs, infrastructure improvements and a true lasting stimulus to the economy. while we're inspired today by the magistery of power of my father's exordation, he sought the be loved community where we would live together in peace, justice and equality. we must embrace that love and cease the violence. no more senseless newtowns or columbines. no more daily killings of our young people by our young people on the streets of chicago and countless neighborhoods across the country. we need more gun control, but we
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also need more love. yes, we all need love for each other, black, white and yellow, red and brown, gay and straight, christians, muslim and jews and all of god's children loving one another. we must embrace love and hold on to that powerful spirit which inspired my father's generation and inspires us still today. we ain't going to let nobody turn us around. we ain't going to let nobody turn us around. we gonna keep walking, we're gonna keep on talking, we're gonna keep on voting, we're gonna keep on job building, we're gonna keep on educating, we're gonna keep on mentoring, we're gonna keep on community building. we're gonna keep on ending violence. we're gonna keep on creating peace. we ain't gonna let nobody turn us around.
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we're going to keep marching down to freedom land. so when i stand in your presence today and reflect on the fact that my be loved sisz center yolanda denise did not live to see the full realization of the heartfelt dream held by our father for his four children, i am sad, but not entirely sad, for i'm reminded that he knew the arc of the moral universe is long but it does bend toward justice. so another yolanda, our daughter, has been sent by god into this world, and the dream will live on through her. thus i know that dad is smiling up above knowing that your presence here today will assure the fulfillment of his dream in the lifetime of yolanda renee king. i can almost hear my father humming that anthem of the movement. people get ready, there's a
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train coming. a train where we have decent houses and not dope houses. a land where we have schools that teach our children sand do not defeat our children. a land where we have enterprising entrepreneurs and not incarcerated inmates, a land where we have fathers who create stable families and do not merely procreate innocent babies. yes, a train to the freedom land. 50 years ago martin luther king, junior, boldly ignited a mighty torch to guide our freedom to our freedom train land here. we are today standing in the midst of that eternal flame. if we could all catch a flicker from that ferocious flame, we could each light a small candle of corneal and in our own voice cry out this little light of
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mine, i'm going to let it shine. if we each let our own little light shine, then we shall truly over come. yes, if we each do our own small part in our homes, in our kur chs, in our schools, on our jobs, in our organizations, in every aspect of our lives to advance the cause of freedom, then surely a change is going to come. and take it from me, some day we will all be free. and on that triumphant day we will offer up our praise to the god of our weary ears, the god of our silenced tears who has led us into our light, and together we as a people, we as a nation and indeed we as a world will proclaim in unison, mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord. glorly, glory, hallelujah,
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glory, glory, hallelujah, glory, glory, hallelujah. his truth is marching on. god bless you. >> we have just listened to martin luther king, iii, the eldest son of martin luther king, junior as he addressed this crowd 50 years after his father's historic "i have a dream" speech. >> well, a heavy emphasis on what has to be done moving forward. of course, this summer what unfolded was the ruling by the supreme court going after section 4 of the voting rights act. there's a lot of conversation about that at this rally. and ha is the linchpin to success for all equality in this country. >> now i believe we'll hear from
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our own colleague, reverend al sharpton. >> on behalf of the staff and the many members of the national action network, i greet you today as chairman and to celebrate this high moment. we've come here today to culminate a long journey that began 200 years ago, the moment an african-american, enslaved african rejected slavery. 50 years ago we came to a high moment n. the past 50 years we've had tremendous achievement, tremendous accomplishment. it is not achievement that makes us believers in the future. in every generation we have had great voices and great leaders. today it is my privilege to present our keynote speaker, the one who has become the voice of this era. for the last 40 years the
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reverend al sharpton has been evolving as a great and stirring leader shaped by these times to lead us into this era. he has sacrificed his life, his body, he's been mistreated, misunderstood, but thanks be to god he has been consistent. he has not given up. he's always been a voice for the voiceless. he's always aligned with the marginalized, always representing the hurting and always been a voice for justice. he's our leader, the president of the national action network. it is my privilege to present pour the keynote moment the reverend al sharpton, president of the national action network.
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[ applause ] >> thank you. 50 years ago, they did not take a bus outing to come to washington. there will be those that will miscast this as some great social event. but let us remember 50 years ago some came to washington having rode the back of buses. some came to washington that couldn't stop and buy a cup of coffee until they got across the mason dixon line. some came to washington sleeping in their cars because they
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couldn't rent a motel room. some came to washington never having had the privilege to vote. some came having seen their friends shed blood. but they came to washington so we could come today in a different time and a different place, and we owed them for what we have today. i met a man not long ago -- i tell it often -- he says i'm african-american, but i don't understand all this civil rights marching you're talking about, reverend al. i've accomplished. i've achieved. look at my resume. i went to the best schools. i'm a member of the right clubs.
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i haired the people. read my resume. civil rights didn't write my resume. i looked at his resume and said, you're right, civil rights didn't write your resume, but civil rights made somebody read your resume. don't act like whatever you achieved you achieved because you were that smart. you got there because some unleaded grandma whoever saw the inside of a college campus put their bodies on the line in alabama and mississippi and sponsored you up here. today we face continuing
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challenges. what do we want? we want the congress to rewrite a voting rights act, and we want to protect our right to vote. they are changing laws all over this country that congress needs to make federal law that will get through this congress and deal with what the supreme court has done. right now in texas and north carolina and other places they're coming with all these schemes. voter i.d. well, we always had i.d. why do we need new i.d. now? we had i.d. when we voted for johnson. we had i.d. when we voted nixon. we had i.d. when we voted for those that succeeded him, carter, reagan, bush, clinton,
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bush again. why when we get to obama do we need some special i.d.? but i tell you what we going to do. when we leave washington, we getting ready to march. we're going to go to those states. we're on our way to north carolina. we're on our way to texas. we're on our way to florida. when they ask us for our voter i.d., take out a photo of medgar evers. take out a photo of viola, they gave their lives so we could vote. look at this photo. it gives you the i.d. of who we
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are. second, we need jobs. we didn't come here to just talk. we want voter legislation. we need jobs. if we can't get jobs, we need to continue these marches and if we get tired, we need to sit down in the offices of some of those here that don't understand folk want to work and earn for their families. 50 years ago, dr. king said that america gave blacks a check that bounced in the bank of justice and was returned marked insufficient funds. well, we've redeposited the check, but guess what. it bounced again.
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when we look at the reason this time, it was marked stop payment. they had the money to bail out banks. they had the money to bail out major corporations. they had the money to give tax benefits to the rich. they had the money for the 1% but when it comes to head start, when it comes to municipal workers, when it comes to our teachers they stop the check. we going to make you make the check good or we gone close down
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the bank. let me say that three, we need to deal with building what must be built around gun violence. we cannot sit around and watch the proliferation of guns in our communities and in any community. we've got to fight against this recklessness that make us so insensitive that we shoot each other for no reason. let me say that to our young brothers and sisters, many that were on the program, we owe a debt to those this thought enough for you to put their lives on the line. we owe a debt to those that
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believed in us when we did not believe in ourselves and we need to conduct ourselves in way that respect that. don't you ever think that men like medgar evers died to give you the right to be a hoodlum or to give you the right to be a thug. that is not what they gave their life about. we need to talk about how we address one another. how we respect one another. we need to teach our young folk. i don't care how much money they give you, don't disrespect your women. no matter what they promise you, make it clear that you know that rosa parks wasn't no [ bleep ]
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and fannie wasn't no [ expletive ] we got some house cleaning to do. and as we clean up our house we would then be able to clean up america. let me say as we fight for voter rights, as we fight for jobs, as we fight for immigration, as we fight for equality, let us not try and limit to coalition. we need all of us together. these bogus arguments about well, they didn't suffer like us or they are not as bad as us. the most insane for sick people to do is to lay up in the hospital debating who's the
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sickest. we all need to unite and get well together. we should not be comparing pain. we ought to strategizing and coalescing for us to have equal opportunity. i want to do something special and then we mark. i keep hearing people talking about dr. king's dream. when i was younger, i said to my mother, my friends say why are we dreaming. you need to be awake to fight. my mother said to me, you got to understand what dreams are for.
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dreams are for those that want accept reality as it is, so they dream of what is not there, and make it possible. they will romanty size dr. king's speech but the gene yous was not just the poetry of his words, the genius was after medgar ever was killed. he didn't discuss the pain and express the raanger. he said many the face of those that wanted him dead that no matter what you do, i can dream above what you do. ipse a nation that will make change if we pay the price.
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others saw voting booths we couldn't use. king saw the possibility of an obama 50 years ago. the world is made of dreamers that change reality because of their dream. what we must do is we must give our young people dreams again. that's what lee sanders was talking about. you take the funds. you take the expertise and you tell the children they're nothing and you tell them they're not expected to be nothing. you build jails and close schools and you break their dreams and you wonder why they're walking around where their pants down because that's what you wear in jail. if you think that's where you're headed, you might as well get dressed before you get there.
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we need to give them dreams again not to worry about sagging pants but sagging mentality. if we told them who they could be and what they could do, they would pull up their pants and go to work. we've got to change how we deal with this. we come to say that we're leaving here as they did 50 years ago. we're going too nonviolent what is necessary to put the climate in this country that will lead to a voting rights act. we're going to do what is necessary to do what we have to do nonviolently, to have a jobs bill based on the infrastructure.
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we're going to register voters in each state. we're doing town hall meetings in the next 60 days. we're going to target numbers and target districts. we need to bring new voters to the polls based on the principles and objectives of the movement. i don't know much about cooking, but i did learn how to make pancakes. my mama taught me all you got to do a put down the stuff and just flip it over. i don't know that much about politics, but i know how to do some flipping. we need to flip some folk in congress next year. as we march today, we march with a determination to let you know that we don't have amnesia. we did not forget the price that's paid.
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we fought too hard. our parents shed too much blood. there was too many nights in jail for you to take our vote from us now. our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs and you can't take it from us like we don't flow who we are. we earned the right to vote with protests and we will regain what we lost in the supreme court. we'll protest that is focused and on its way. there was another dreamer, as i close. a dreamer in the bible called john. john looked up and said i see a new heaven. i see a new earth. all things are passed away. i come to tell you i know why there's screeching and hollering and talking crazy because all
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america has passed away. old america that only worked for white males have passed away. old america that only worked for english speaking have passed away. old america that tell you who to sleep with but don't put food in the kitchen has passed away. old things have passed away. we see a new america. we see an america of equality, of justice, of fairness. we march because we're going to bring a new america. one nation, under god, in indivisible with liberty an justice, not for some, not for who you choose, not for who you like, but for all. we believe in a new america. it's time to march for a new america. it's time to organize for a new
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america. it's time to register and vote for a new america. we're on our way. we're on our way. we're on our way. as we prepare to march, i want some of our leaders to stand with me. we want to honor and dedicate what we're doing to a man that made the long road and long journey. kevin powell, reverend richardson, mary pat hector,
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tamecka mowry. domin dominic. i want us to show respect and regard for a man who is every day in the last decades have fought for us and we're not ending no program without thanking those that made a way. bible says honor thy father and mother. not for their days but your days will be long on the land which god giveth thee. reverend joseph lowry has paid a
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price. because of people like him, we are here today. another warrior who was slapped, who was abused and took it so we could vote is here with us today. never got recognition, but now he's a winner of the medal of freedom from the first african-american president in the united states. he will come and have words and present an sclc, southern christian leadership conference. that's the organization dr. king and dr. lowry and others founded. that's organization that did tre direct action. i grew up in the new york city branch of sclc. i tell these young folks that work with me, i don't hear
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excuses. i grew up in a single parent home on welfare. reverend william jones in sclc, reverend jesse jackson told me i was somebody and i believed him. that's why e don't care if nobody gives you credit, i will. you helped turn my concept around about myself. let us hear from the legendary c.t. vivian. >> thank you, my brother. >> i don't want to leave out.
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>> hello good people. well, we're here again. after a half century here again. let's think about what it was that we really came to do. this 50 anniversary was to remind us of a time when we did not have too many leaders as we have today. more than that is to remind us of what we did in the past, but only for a minute for we have to really thank what are we going to do when we go home. what are we going to organize around? what problems are we going to solve? what are we going to do because we have to position ourselves really to be, to create, to solve the problems of our immediate future. in a short time we changed the
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most powerful nation in the world. we really made it speak to us when it didn't want to speak to us. we made it lift its head and pay attention to black plerk twlame the day was gone in their mind when they wouldn't have to think about it. the most powerful nation in the world had the listen to us. it became the greatest drama of our time. we won. our methods worked. we gave faith to a people all over the world. the greatest spiritual leadership in america has been by african-americans and it can be again if we choose to do it. if we do not choose to do it, we will not be, but if we choose to
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do it, we can create the future not only for ourselves but for america itself. our movement and struggles in the streets and the courts and the churches was more than political struggle. it's been moral and spiritual struggle against hate and violence, racism and culture hypocrisy. we see it coming back around the corner we think of florida both in the capital and in streets. when we think about it, it makes us understand that the problems we have to solve immediately, the now problems is that the long term problems we will wait for later. right,000 we have to organize to deal with the immediate problems so that we can have the victories we need to solve the long term problems. we can solve them. among them must be drop outs.
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we cannot be a people. we can't be a people allowing 45% of our young people to drop out of school before they graduate from high school in a world where it's taken for granted that you have to have a college degree in order to do anything. we can solve that problem if we choose. we can do it on a daily basis for the next year. we can't be a thriving, successful, forceful nation of people. how did w.e.b.dubois call us, we are a small nation of people within. if we can organize it, we will be the future not only looking at those who create the future, we can be the future.
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this is what we have been working for during the last 50 years. we must organize. let them be those who educate, those who have dropped out. organize around people who have the knowledge just like we do when we're listening to al talk about politics it wasn't a quick minute. he's been at it for a long time. we listen to him on tv because we know he has the knowledge we need. when we think of that let's think of those who have the knowledge and plan to educate every drop out who wants to lift themselves above it. we can do it because we have the people to do it. if we organize the people that we have, the tomorrow is ours. if we fail to organize, whether he not have it.
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add any and every problem of now, is these problems of now voter registration. we'll have about 700,000 people organized in every block in black america in order to make it work. if you doints want n't want to can't have it. we can solve any problem we ve. all our major organizations talk of joining together. every organization knows that this could create a new movement and a new movement we need those that can lead it. we need those that are their own leaders to create a world in which we with operate. let us not fordpet we're still the new movement for change.
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the new people's movement for change. every struggle makes a greater struggle necessary. this is what we're here for. let us leave here to do it. [ applause ] >> let us call the chairman berna bernard lafayette to join in presenting this award.
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>> thank you for those kind words. thank you. i thank god for the privilege and honor of being with you today 50 years later. never dreamed when we chaired the committee, to take the march to george wallace, governor of alabama. we never dreamed not only would we be here 50 years later but we never dreamed we'd see an african-american president. thank god we lived long enough not only to see the 50 years of the march on washington but to see an african-american
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president. i was looking the other day through some old sermons and i found one that i dusted off and i'm going to preach it again. the name of it was everything has changed and nothing has changed. that's where we are today in america. everything has changed and nothing has changed. as we look at the parents of the young man from florida, as we look at people like johnny ford and others who are gathering on the platform, i'm not sure what they're doing but they're getting ready to do something on the platform. everything has changed and nothing has changed.
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we've come up here for two reasons. not just to come to washington, we come to washington to commemorate. we go back home to agitate. i don't think you heard me. we come to washington to commemorate. we're going back home to agitate. while many things have changed, some things have not changed. we want to go back loam to complete the unfinished task. we come to washington to commemorate. we go back home to agitate. i don't think you heard me. we come to washington to commemorate. we're going back home to agitate. we come to washington to commemorate. we're going back home to agitate. somebody ought to help me. we come to washington to commemorate. we're going back home to
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agitate. one more time. we come to washington to commemorate. we're going back home to agitate. i want to hear from the people down there by the pool. i want to hear from the people by the pool. we come to washington to commemorate. we're going back home to agitate. we've come a long, long way. we've got a long, long way to go. god bless you and god keep you. thank you for acknowledging me. i see sister bernice king over there. she's up here. i stand with the women. you're not going to get me to take a position against the women. hello. hello. god bless you and god keep you. we're going to work for that day
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when justice rolled down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. work for that day when black will not be asked to get back. when brown can stick around. when yellow can be mellow. when the red man can get ahead, man and when white will be belaif all right. god bless you and god keep you. we come to washington to commemorate. we're going back home to agitate. >> reverend joseph lowry. give him a hand. wait one minute. are we ready to march? don't start ganging up. we doing this orderly. elder bernice king is going to give us a prayer. we're going to line up. y'all that's lining up, be cool, you ain't going to be up front
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no how. why do we march? governor patrick is here from massachusetts say he don't want to talk. he come to march. we march because in the '50s it was emmett teal. now it's trayvon martin. let me bring to the platform together the family of emmett teal and the mother and father and brother of trayvon martin. [ applause ] >> thank you. they say i have one minute. i wish they had told me that in mast mississippi when they tied
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that cotton sack on me. they were very generous with the time. it was from sun to sun. on this day, 58 years ago, was the occasion for the dream. my cousin and i emmett teal, maurice, my brother, my nephew, we went to a little town in money, mississippi. while we were there emmett whistled. he was shot in the head and thrown in the river. we cried. our hearts were broken. the bible said there's a time for all things under the sun. there's a time to weep, but what had just happened in our country when an american stalked another american, shot him down like a dog and the jury said not
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guilty, it's crying time again. we need to do something. young people, listen to me. i was so upset that i take the programs. i want to see who was supporting them. i wanted to see who was buying or paying for the advertising time. i saw two japanese automobile make makers. i have one of them. before i buy that again i'll ride a skateboard. go lohome and see who is supporting these bigots. don't buy their products. they tell me the british kept
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them coming. they fired their guns. the british kept coming. they fired once more. the british began to run. we're not going to run. they fired the first shot when they shot emmett. they fired the second shot when they shot medgar evers. the first shot when they shot dr. king. we're not going to run. thank you so much. >> the mother of trayvon martin, mrs. sybrina fulton. >> as i said before, trayvon martin was my son. he's not just my son. he's all of our son and we have
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to fight for our children. it's very important that we not forget that we make sure we m d mindful of what's going on with the laws. remember that god is in control. thank you. >> let us prepare to march. we will be led in prayer and we will line up. they will get you grid by grid. let us hear from the one who convene these five days, the ceo of the king center in atlanta, georgia elder bernice king. [ applause ] >> if you would connect hands to whoever you are near, we're going to pray. god of our weary years, god of
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our silent tears, god who has brought us thus far on the way. lord, god, we thank that you continue to be with us through every situation and circumstance. we bless you lord, god, for this great august body of people who have assembled here at the lincoln memorial 50 years later. we thank you god that the spirit that inspired those 50 years ago is inspiring us today, father. we have determined to continue the struggle. as my mother said struggle is a never ending process. freedom is never really won. you earn it and win it in every generation. in this generation, we are taking up the baton and we're determined to be vigilant until justice rolls down like water
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and right usness like a mighty stream. we pray even now that you would bind us together like never before. regardless of our backgrounds, even regardless of our differences, father god. give us the strength and the courage and the humility to transcend those differences that we might be able to join together as a freedom force. to continue to move this nation and this world toward creating the beloved community and ultimately the kingdom of god. we thank you on this day old things passed away and we thank you for all things flu. we thank you there's a joshua generation who hears the sound and ready to run with the vision. as we leave here on today. as our feet march with every step we take, we thank you that we're stomping on the enemies of our progress.
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we thank you lord that we're stomping on those that would seek to keep up separated and divi divided. we thank you we're stomping against discrimination and inequality. we thank you we're stomping against violence and crime. we thank you that we are stomping against those who think they have the audacity to stand their ground, to take lives senselessly but we thank you as we stomp that the stand your ground laws are defeated. we thank you for this day and as we march together, we walk together like children and we will not get weary. we hold on together like children and we will not get weary. we struggle, we fight, we fuss if we have to but we get over it. we continue to march together like children and we pray together so we don't get tired. we know that at some point we all will be able to join with
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dr. king in saying free at last, free at last. thank god almighty we're all free at last. thank you, god. in jesus's name i pray. amen. >> reverend michael come up. let us set up our front line. >> you're watching msnbc's coverage of the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. we just heard from bernice king, the daughter of martin luther king jr. he was only five years old when her father was assassinated. she just finished the days speeches doing so with prayer. asking that the people who are here today and all who are watching would be bound together, working together,
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movi moving towards the sorts of things we heard. attorney general eric holder, congressman john lewis and other leaders spoke today from the steps of the lincoln memorial standing in the same place where martin luther king jr. articulated a dream for the american democratic project 450 years ago. joining me now for ongoing coverage of today's event is ed schultz, schultz. so nice to have you. >> a fabulous last hour. a number of different speeches. there's no doubt that reverend sharpton is the contemporary civil rights leader of our time. >> he's fearless. >> i thought his recognition of jesse was so profound and important for the generational
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uniting moving forward. it was a theme reverend sharpton stepped forward with. he lived the fight. he's a man of very strong conviction. he's a man who believes in a new america and equality for all. he's man with a unique platform in a social media with a television show and a national action network and the social following that he has and the very tremendous importance that rests on his shoulders for the black community in this shoulder. when he talk eed about unity, which i thought was important, he talked about it just not about the black people of america, it's about all people. i thought that reverend al sharpton was at his best today. no question about it. he was one of the organizers of this march in recognizing the
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importance of it and moving it and passing the torch to the next generation of a challenge that has to be marked. according to a senior administration official president obama moved by all of this, connected with congressman john louewis a couple of days a and spoke with the congressman about his memories from the particul march on washington. the president called congressman lewis the last survivoring speaker. very emotional and in tump with what needs to be done now. he's the last surviving speaker of the 1963 event. the president was very young and being a student of history he wants to make sure he captures the tone and understands the feeling of the moment which president obama is so talented at doing. he does not want to overshadow these events. the president is not in a competition to be in a position
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something greater than anyone else who has been great contributor to society. the president is trying to motivate the country, make the country recognize what we need to accomplish. there's been a tremendous amount of emphasis on voting rights throughout all the the speeches today. that's the next great collahall. you can go back to the meet the press appearance on march 28th of 1965, dr. king was asked about some of the most outrageous things. the influence of the communist party infiltrating the southern leadership conference. there were detractors back then in the mainstream media that didn't believer this could being a reality. dr. king in that interview was asked about the voting rights. it's almost deja vu. here we are fighting for rights back then for voting and now
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gathering the torch and moving it forward and making young people realize that we're in that same fight again today. >> absolutely. let me bring in our panel. joining us now is president and ceo of the leadership conference. he was at the 1963 march on washington. also msnbc contributor and georgetown university professor, michael eric dyson. i want to start with you, michael. reverend sharpton chose a very different biblical passage in his conversation today. martin luther king jr. referred to the great prophet, amos. today reverend sharpton drew from revelation. this idea of a new heaven, a new
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earth and a new country. reflect on that. >> what reverend sharpton did today was magnificent. first of all, he concentrated his remarks about the broad landscape of american political culture. then he drew in to chide with love but criticism, african-american people and then said in the words of barbara christian let's not have an oppression derby. let's not compare one form of oppression to the other. he does two things brilliantly. first he reflects upon the revelation from god but revelation is a fail ee eed cri of the broader culture. to talk about who god is in
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revelation but a critique of the broader society. today reverend sharpton emerged as the preimminent leader of his generation. >> he walks away from this moment peer less. >> every leader of african-american culture from a. phillip randolf to particular tin luther king, jr., he's done an incredible job. >> how important was his connection to reverend jackson? what did it signal? >> let me tell you how big the spirit of al sharpton is. there's no secret there's been some grumbling and tension generationally between reverend jackson and reverend sharpton.
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the people at the top clash. reverend sharpton put an end to be any sense that he would not pay homage to the man who made him possible and a lot of people have forgotten reverend jesse jackson, don't understand how he held us together after the death of martin luther king jr. and reverend sharpton restored him to his just recognition. it was a magnificent gesture. >> i want to also point out that part of the magnificent jesse jackson was the rainbow coalition. maria, we heard repeatedly today that this is the big coalition and the questions of not only african-american voting rights which we see reflected but a coalition of people of color of women, of poor people, of
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workers, of young people. reflect on that. >> the fact that al sharpson came together today and brought so many people together is where we're going. this is a new generation of america. reverend al sharpton was the very first person to touch on arizona soil the moment they passed that immigration law. he recognizes there's no freedom for anyone if we're enjoying 11 million people who are living as indentured servants to provide them with citizenship and provide them with a vote. that's what we're talking about when it comes to voting rights act a act. it's not just african-americans. it's north carolina, texas, florida, new mexico not surprisingly, the same sftates where you see a huge latino
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population. >> the appearance on meet the press by dr. king in the '60s, he was talking about a poll tax. that's what we're talking about today. i think the parallels are terribly striking to suppress the vote to make sure it's socially engineered to concentrate the wealth, to keep the money and the power at the top. that's what i think is the struggle back in the '60s. in a sense we're reliving it today. >> we'll pause for a moment. mara is out on the mall as people begin to march. >> forgive me. i think that was melissa. we're down at the beginning point of the march. you don't see me because the crowd is so thick with people trying to get to the front and get as close as they can to the beginning of this process. you see a number of key figures of this event.
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specifically, reverend al sharpton who gave a rousing speech from the steps of the lincoln memorial. they're getting ready to begin their march. the way this is going to work is the crowds are going to come all the way down independence avenue from the lincoln memorial down to the washington monument. on the way they're going to pass the martin luther king memorial which on this day has special significance. just a quick moment to note. that monument to martin luther king is the only one on the national mall that's not to a president. it's extremely significant monument to that man and it takes on extra meaning today on the 50th anniversary on that march on washington. they're going to march down independence avenue. that's where the marchers are told to gather to meet their buses and the like. in terms of the scene now, there's a tremendous am of ki
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excitement. we're starting to walk. there's a huge turn out here. we don't have official estimates for crowd sizes. there are tens of thousands, if not over 100,000 people here. maybe as high as 200,000. we haven't had the benefit of seeing any aerials that would help us get a betterest plait. the turn out has been very significant. a lot of interest in this vent and the marches are just starting. prior to the march starting the participants were surrounding the area. there were a number of barricades up. we were told when the march began the barricades would be opened up so that people could begin to begin this march honoring the 50th anniversary of this event. we are hoping in a short time we can speak with reverend sharpton about the significance of this event and what he hopes will come of it and the little more about the impact an significance of this 50 anniversary.
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half a century since martin luther king made this exact same march. melissa. >> stlooung much. l let me bring in wade henderson. what do you take away from this moment? >> it's an extraordinary day. this was both a commemoration of a historic event and lifted up in way that made it part of the national moment. this was mom and apple pie. americans of all races and class and groups celebrating this great moment. it was also a rededication to change. there's so many parallels between the challenges we face today and what those marches 50 years ago face. it really does make a striking reenforcement of how america is moving forward. voting rights is the huge issue.
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immigration reform was lifted up as a significant element and marginalized groups were recognized an brought into this moment. there's a real sense to build upon this momentum for change. one oflt almosts that's different, we now have a social media component. that was not there. >> john was talking about that. >> now we can amplify the impact of what we do in ways that would never have been available to us before. that's herbal important to that younger generation who turned out if great numbers and whose leadership has been a part of this effort. >> the young men and women of the other organizations involved were at the forefront of push and change. i think you're still seeing that element as a part of this effort as well. >> i think we also have to keep
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into perspective that dr. king offered solutions in a form of action. sdplp he did. >> in some of these interviews he had he was talking about a general strike with workers. he was asking on "meet the press" people not the buy alabama products. not to do business with alabama. when i saw that, you put that into today's context, is anyone willing to spep tep up and say e going to boycott your part of the country until you get it together socially. the only way to force social change to make sure there was going to be equality was to say this is the action we're going to take. when it comes to the voting rights act, what is the next move? how do we fight back against
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this ruling of the supreme court? what do we do in north carolina. what do we do in texas? what do we do in the states taken over by people who view the constitution differently? >> there is a real interest on the part of even republicans. i spoke with several members of the congressional black caucus yesterday and they said they have been meeting with eric cantor and he recognizes it's critical to get a new section 4 formula in order to get it back to the pre-clearance aspect of section 5. >> not only eric cantor but men like james who was a former republican claire. a long time leader in the voting rights effort who is helping to galvanize republicans so that there is bipartisan support for a repair bill. >> i think to that point is the republican leadership recognize they have to become inclusive.
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with the voting rights act they're on the wrong side of history. when it comes to immigration they're on the wrong side of history. when you're talking about women's rights they're on the wrong side of history. they have to have a piece of paper saying this is not how they will change, they have legislation that opens them up to the majority of americans. >> let's not leave out the role of direct action. when you think about north carolina and having grown to a statewide effort involving all races and involving groups that have previously not worked together, that's a significant development. >> michael, as ed was saying part of the brilliance of martin luther king jr. was his giving us action. i so appreciate what reverend al sharpton did today was the reclaim the prophetic imagination and the possibility to imagination, a country so even as we begin to take action, we must be able to dream a different world. >> that's a beautiful point.
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look at the multiple layers that sharpton signified on today. some men things as they are. what he tapped into was the prophetic imagination, the ability to counter act the negtivity of what you see with what you can imagine. howard thurman said you have to resist the temptation to reduce your dreams to the level of the event which is your immediate experience. he knew that the slave parents imagine a day we couldn't see. what sharpton did is he manifest another element of dreaming but one that was dipped deep into the waters and healing stream of prophesy but linked to item networks. he named one, two, three. this is what we must do. he joined the best of an activist tradition and a
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prophetic imagination as well. >> for me, sitting here, i don't know if folks can see but we have the lincoln memorial beliebehind us. we have the washington monument in front of us and then the dome of the capital building. when you think about the idea of an imagined possibility, what we can be as a nation, there's tho place optimistic as this space. we know we began as a slave nation. we know we began as a nation where our very founding fathers owned other human beings. look at where we are at this moment. it is important that we can both rise the challenges we face but also a kind of optimism about what we have overcome and what we can create. >> it's a can takerrous
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hopefulness. the beauty of what happened today is that so many people are allows to dream before the nation to say the tea party doesn't just define us. right wing conservatives don't define us. people who want to bash through bigotry do not define us. the people who have the least, it seems to be to be able to be grateful for are the ones the most grateful. >> mara, what's happening out there? >> the march has gotten under way. there's a little bit of confusion but in the name of restoring order. the media has been pushed back. they're doing that to create space between the marchers and media. there's a tremendous amount of media coverage. what you're seeing is police officers on horse back as opposed to be marchers.
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i'm right at the front of the march. it's probably a little difficult to hear me. you can see reverend sharpton, nancy pelosi, trayvon martin's family and looks like representative lewis as well. i see jesse jackson. these are some of the main figures of this march here that are leading this march. you have a number of people who have come to attend. you have people with little kids, young adults, older folks. some people who appear during the first march and coming to relive that experience and continue the fight and people who are participating for the very first time in something of this magnitude and this scope. you have people from all over the country. i found a lot of people are here from the northeast. this march is just getting under way. it's led by police officers on horse back and then you have the marchers behind them. it's going to go down independence avenue.
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it's going to go specially the entire length of the national mall from the lincoln memorial to the washington monument. passing on the way the martin luther king jr. memorial. that memorial was dedicated two years -- and the is only to a non -- of course, it was very significant at the time of its unveiling. >> thank you. mara is out along the mall and on this route. >> the challenge is going to be mobilization, motivation, mobilization and being brilliant on the basics to go down do voter registration. there are new challenges. all of these folk who is are marching in washington here
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today need to accept the challenge that they just won't march. they will stay involved. they will dpo home to their communities and they will do the due diligence to to push back against the obstacles of shutting down the elderly and making it harder on the economically depressed, closing the polls earlier, restricting early registration, and also going after young people. to make it harder for them to get involved in the process which of course was part of the law in north carolina. then along with the social engineering of the jerrymandering taking place on a state level which of course is affecting the congress. we now have in front of us an hour of awaken field goal america is going to realize the dream, there are new challenges and there are forcing working against democracy as we see it, and we see these two political entities in america that see the
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country differently, and whoever can mobilize, whoever can be brilliant on the basics, whoever can do the foot soldier work that has to be done is going to be the ideology and the america that moves forward. >> one of the speeches today was from rosalyn brock, the chair of the naacp and she talked about the importance of midterm elections and voting when you don't have a charismatic leader to attract to the polls and in essence she was harkening back to the consequences of the 2010 election when the turnout among african-americans and progressives wasn't perhaps as high as it should have been and the consequence of course was statehouses became under single party control with a focus on doing the very things that you talked about, disfranchising voters. >> and disenfranchising voters is what they're doing and not implementing obama care.
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they are cutting back on public education. they are turning back federal money when it comes to the infrastructure. >> and i think what you are describing is exactly where we were 50 years ago where all of a sudden there was a friction between the federal government and where the country was and where everything was at the state level, and all of a sudden 50 years later we're battling the same fights and how do we make sure that the majority that elected barack obama, our country, our fellow americans at the federal level are taking action so we can go back and take it back. >> this is such a critical point i do not want to lose. there was a central aspect 50 years ago in the march on washington was a demand for aggressive federal action to make sure that the states understood that we already fought the civil war and in the 1860s and that it was already clear that federal action mattered for keeping states in line and we're once again there. >> isn't that what the eric
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holder speech touched on. >> and having eric holder there is huge. >> elections matter. >> he shifted from section 4 to section 2. >> solution. >> only an attorney general that understands the internal machinations said i will take from one pot here and hook this pot up over here and still get the job done. >> and look at the response he got from the audience. >> it was extraordinary, the applause and the response to eric holder, before he even spoke. i think only reverend sharpton and some of the critical civil rights leaders of 50 years ago got a similar response and the idea that the attorney general would get that kind of response from activists on the ground is remarkable. >> he is moses. they understand. he has the law. >> if i could profoundly point out that probably one of the most important people in our government right now is the attorney general. >> absolutely. >> president obama has got to say, brother, you have to stay with me. you can't go anywhere. >> absolutely. >> if he were to ever step down, do you think the conservatives
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would give president obama, the next attorney general, obstruction after obstruction, and then of course they would not be able to challenge the voting rights and issues taking place. >> the attacks on eric holder were basically for that reason. >> exactly. he becomes the most pivotal person in america functioning right now when it comes to the right to vote. eric holder is a very necessary man to the movement. >> and he understands the critical role of history as an agency of both consciousness and of constructing and crafting his own policies. he has been very explicit about that. >> and i would harken what is so important. we heard -- let me pause for a moment. maura has msnbc and national action network leader, reverend al sharpton. let's go to maura and reverend al right now. >> so they're live with us now. we can -- there is a little confusion, guys. i am not sure if you can see
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him. i am not sure if you can hear me. we are hearing we are live. there is confusion right now. they're trying to get this march process under way. you can see them with reverend sharpton. he is not ready to speak at the moment because they're ready to get things under way. you can see who is here at the front, reverend sharpton and mark morial and nancy pelosi and the family of trayvon martin and there are a number of people lining the route trying to get photos of the figures and a tremendous amount of media attention. we will wait until things calm down and we will speak to reverend sharpton about this march and what it means for the civil rights movement. i will toss things back to you guys. >> wow. >> up next, please continue to stay with msnbc's continuing coverage of the 50th anniversary of the march on washington that is currently under way. when we come back, craig melvin will join us.
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in the last five years - making bp america's largest energy investor. our commitment has never been stronger. by the content of our character. i have a dream today. >> when they say no, you can't, we say yes, we can. >> it is time for us to get uncomfortable. it is time for us to be inconvenienced. >> as we gather today, 50 years later, their march is now our march. it must go on. >> this is our country, and we
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are the trees standing tall for justice. >> you cannot stand by. you cannot sit down. you have to stand up and speak up, and speak out, and get in the way. make some noise. >> a live look at the crowds around the lincoln memorial here on the national mall as tens of thousands have gathered from all over this country and to mark the 50th anniversary of the march on washington, and the good saturday afternoon to you, everyone. i am craig melvin coming live from the feet of the lincoln memorial continuing our coverage. we heard speech from civil rights and political leaders ranging from attorney general eric holder of course here and house speaker -- house minority
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leader nancy pelosi and the families of trayvon martin and of course martin luther king iii scheduled to join us at some point here over the next hour or so, and again right now thousands about to start retracing the steps that marchers took 50 years ago. so has peter alexander who is along the march route and let me start with you. what is the scene like right now? >> so right now we're along the route on independence avenue and you can see the police are clearing the way as they arrive here at the martin luther king memorial. we are joined by so many people who witnessed history as we wait to see those who participated in it, one of those voices is the gentleman i met today named franklin delano, no roosevelt, but williams. you happened to be here on that
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day, for the first time visiting your sister. you didn't know you would be witnessing history. >> did not know. it was just a thing the kids in the neighborhood, we all came down and we were here and climbed in the trees >> you told me as you said earlier you were climbing the tree to be part of it and you were one of the foot soldsers for many years and as you looked around this crowd today, what is it this mean to you to witness the people that have gathered here to be a part of it? >> i am so glad to see so many young people because that's what we need right now. we need more young people out there in front of this, 50 years and still a lot to do. >> i appreciate your being with us, mr. williams, right now. you can see as we look forward there is jill lourie there and so many people that witnessed history firsthand as they pass now for the first time by the monument, the memorial that honors the life of martin luther king.
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>> a big thanks to you. we will check in in just a few moments. of course the speech that dr. king gave back in 1963 has had tremendous emotional and cultural meaning ever since he gave that speech. in fact, president obama referenced that speech just yesterday in new york. >> 50 years after the march on washington and the i have a dream speech, obviously we made enormous strides. i am a testament to it. you are a testament to it. the diversity of this room and the students who are here.
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>> president obama will be here wednesday making a speech and just feet away from me on the 50th anniversary, the day that dr. king gave that speech here some five decades ago, with more on the back story of king's speech and the legacy as well, joined now as you can hear helicopters above me and ed schultz and michael dyson as well and also from austin, texas, presidential historian douglas brinkley. good to see you. listen to one of the most famous lines from the i have a dream speech in 1963.
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>> i think we have doug brinkley there and when did the term i have a dream, when did it make it into the famous speech? >> i think it did a lot of people and your coverage pointed out weren't leaping on that phrase as much and i have a dream within seconds afterwards and kennedy met with martin and the i have a dream getting a lot of media coverage and it is almost a story line of its own, the story of the dream. there is also the story line of the truth of the civil rights movement the guy that has done more than anybody is julian bond. working in the early '60s, he didn't just push for voting rights, he ran in georgia for the house of representatives and held his principle. he made noise like john lewis said today and he said i think we have to be sympathetic to
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vietnam and draft dodgers as they were called back then and tried to not allow julian to have a seat to be represented and then he has gone on his whole career. it has been so bray. recently he was arrested over the keystone pipeline. he has fought for gay marriage so when we are talking about all of the great figures of this r era, julian bond really deserves a call out. in the history field he always makes sure scholars like myself are exact and anybody doing a ph.d. dissertation clears it with him because he is a meticulous scholar of the movement. >> doctor, let me bring you in. >> i went to a church in albany, georgia, and a woman was praying one night and said i have a dream. king heard that. in his typical baptist preacher
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fashion said i will use that one day, and so he extracted that phrase from prathea hall, one of the great preachers of her generation, now dead, and she was a member of snip and he used that energy of prayer and extracted that phrase and first used it in the detroit speech and then the speech in washington. >> i think one of the things to remember about dr. king, he was always operating on multiple levels in the context of the speech. he had just visited the university of virginia, only about three months before the march on washington 15 years ago where he was given a very academic speech and really spoke from the professor voice and academic voice about philosophy. remember, the university of virginia is mr. jefferson's university. it is the president, the founder who wrote that bad check, who wrote of course that
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extraordinary founding document that said we take it as self evident that all people are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights and if if there was any self evidence on the mountain in 1776 than the fundamental human equality and so we see in king drawing on his ak sem i can self and a moment of african-american american woman dom preacher dom and the great historic document. >> we talk about the historic speeches and you can see tens of thousands getting ready to start. >> the sheer number of young people we have seen matching today, lots of folk who is have come up from various colleges and universities and from all
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over america to participate in this commemoration. >> i am going to defer to melissa on this one. your daughter is here. what does it mean? >> it means everything. my father and his twin brother were here 21 years old and stood here 50 years ago. i talked to my father and uncle yesterday and the first question they said to me is will your daughter be there? her being here allows a completion of enter generational pathway of struggle and i talked about it on msnbc before, that i was raised with the belief, a simple belief, that the struggle continues, that you do not have all the answers, you are picking up the struggle from before and passing it forward. >> i think we're at a unique time in history because we have a black president who wants to connect and has connected continually with young people and as we move from this march, i have always been one in the news business to say what does
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this mean? where do we go from here? president obama now is positioned to pick up the torch and carry what martin luther king advocated for and believed in and fought for, and because now we really have a new set of challenges in front of us in a new age, and i do believe that with the political climate in this country right now there is only one president obama can go. he is not going to be facing re-election. he can be a real leader as he closes out his term to push for civil rights, social justice, to make sure the vote is protected, and michael eric dyson, i think the president is uniquely positioned in history right now to be able to capture what has been delivered here today and carry it through a process of completion. >> part of barack obama's genius, being able to absorb all the environment around him,
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repurpose it for what lies ahead of him, because he faces a unique challenge no other black man in history faced, the leader of the free world and most powerful black figure in the history of this country and out of his own existential and personal experience to a broad nation and i think he will fill himself up to that challenge which is why he called john lewis and upon his ancestors to be able to express that. >> we have to take a quick break here. we are also watching developments out of the white house as well, what president obama has been meeting with the national security team today to weigh military options against syria in light of the syrian government's apparent use of chemical weapons earlier this week. we will have a live report coming up. we cannot let our coverage of this event happen without making note of the site where i am sitting right now at the edge of the iconic lincoln memorial above the statue and of abraham
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lincoln and mind me inscribed these words, in this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom we save the union, the memory of abe ra lamb lincoln issen tliened forever. according to the national park service, the crowds at the lincoln memory's 1922 dedication ceremony were segregated. we'll be right back. [ female announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. with 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day women's 50+. with 7 antioxidants to support cell health. we provide the exact individualization that your body needs. this labor day, don't invest in a mattress until you visit a sleep number store. once you experience it, there's no going back. oh, yeah! at our biggest sale of the year, every bed is on sale.
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again, a live look here. national mall, tens of thousands
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continue to march in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the march on washington here in washington, d.c., and one of the things also that struck a lot of folks throughout the course of the day, the signs we have seen people carry. everything from as you can see there interracial profiling and we're marching for trayvon and i even saw a sign encouraging folks to stop uranium drilling. voting rights as well. the civil rights movement took root not just here of course in the united states but also across the world. recently i sat down with the mayor of birmingham, alabama, who described the impact that movement had on out-african president nelson mandela. >> nelson mandela made the statement one of the things that encouraged him during his 26 years of incarceration on robben island in south africa is if change could come to birmingham in the american south, change
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could come to south africa. >> nbc news contributor charlene was the first african-american woman admitted to the university of georgia and covering nelson mandela in decades and in close contact with his family and joins me live as well. shirley, can you elaborate a little bit more on what we just heard from the mayor there? what do we know about dr. king's influence and the civil rights movement and the influence of that on nelson mandela? >> of course the parallel history, the african national congress, nelson mandela's party was formed in the early 1900s, just after the naacp, so martin luther king and nelson mandela were aware of the parallel history and someone on your program just said a few moments ago, martin luther king operated on multiple levels. in 1964 when he was in the struck nel america, he was also talking about the struggle
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against what he called the worst racism in the world in south africa and he went to london and talked to people from different countries including africa about the need to support sanctions and so forth and at this point nelson mandela was in prison and had been in prison since the early '60s serving what we thought at that time was a life sentence. he said that in prison he followed the prisoners, he himself, followed the struggle of black americans and said because we were linked by nature and proud by choice and thanked when he came to america after he was free he thanked americans and the u.s. congress for putting sanctions on south africa that helped move the struggle closer to the kind of freedom americans in the civil rights movement enjoyed here and the kind of freedom that nelson mandela was looking for. he said there was an unbreakable bond between blacks in the
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united states and blacks in south africa. there is a synergy there and a connection and then of course there was the free south africa movement which started even much later after the civil rights movement had gained quite a bit of its goals and those demonstrations including which president obama as a young man took part helped to move south africa to where it is today which is that you have one person and one move and a long struggle to go and nelson mandela is not well and his family says he is improving, his condition is critical but stable, and so there continues to be this real synergy between people in south africa and people in america and they weren't all black, but of course the added issue of freedom for blacks in america and freedom for blacks in south africa made it as much a black struggle as it was an international interracial struggle.
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>> and there are approaches to that struggle of course very different. dr. king, famous for his non-violent approach and nelson mandela made no secret of the fact from time to time the struggle would in fact require some. >> it was a peaceful struggle for generations, and when nelson mandela himself said in his book that when it became clear this non-violent approach would not work, that is when they had to resort to violence. he said of course martin luther king is a christian and i am a christian, and so you have to look back in christianity and violence dates back, mandela says, to christ who threw the money lenders out of the temple and even arch wish op tooutu talked about the just war and there were differences in the approach and respect on both
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sides for the movements in both instances and those leaders, martin luther king and nelson mandela, icons of our generation and generations surely to come. >> i know you are in close contact with the mandela family as i just reported, critical but stable, that's the word we're getting right now on his condition. what more can you tell us? >> i think that's essentially it. his daughter tells me that there are times when he is on a ventilator which is helping him breathe because he's had problems with his lung that date back to the time he was in prison and working in the lime quarry and inhaled so much of the dust from that quarry and so he is being supported by a ventilator, but there were wrong reports he was in a vegetative state. he was never in a vegetative state. he is alive. he opens his eyes. he smiles when people come in that he knows, and so it is in
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god's hands and mandela's hands now when if, whenever the transition time has come, but it has not come now, and as far as i can hear from members of his family and other close associates, he is hanging in there as he has always done when he is faced with difficult challenges. >> charlene hunter, thank you so much, the latest on nelson mandela's condition also and a little bit more on the unique relationship between the two men, not so much the men but the movements themselves. thank you so much. always a pleasure to have you on. >> my pleasure to be here. >> the united states postal service is marking the anniversary of the march on washington with a new limited edition forever stamp. it was unveiled yesterday with the help of congressman john lewis and access gabrielle union and the last of the three stamps issue this had year remembering the movement and the first in the series celebrated the
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was 22 years old when she came to march in 1963. now retired philadelphia public school teacher, and reporter tremaine lee is here who road the about us from florida with a handful of dream defenders, some young people that came to the march this year, we have seen lots of young people. sylvia, let me start with you. then and now. similarities and differences. >> the similarities were the same in that the focus was then on the need for equal quality education in order to equalize the future for all students. it hasn't changed. it is still the same. it hasn't really gotten too much, too advanced in the 50 years. and the unemployment rate is no
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better in the differential between black youth and white youth. it is still about 13 or 13% as the difference. so that hasn't changed. >> the spirit of the march is then versus the spirit of the march is now and i imagine you interacted with folks today. big difference or about the same there? >> i really think it is about the same. it is hard to judge. i was very young. i was two months out of college. i was all kinds of enthusiastic. i went to hear dr. king because he was speaking what a greed with before i came as did my friends. we thought this is a no-brainer, it will take no time, a year, maybe two, and the country will be there. i don't think it is the same feeling today. >> tremaine, you were on the bus
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with dream defenders, rode up from florida. how was that? >> it was an awesome experience. i think so often we have to question when are young people going to step up and the tragic of the trayvon martin killing the seeds were planted and on that bus, maybe 60 kids not only enthusiastic and forthright in their efforts but seamlessly go between political theory and lamar and amazing energy and focus anded enthusiastic and willing to keep pushing and fighting. it was interesting. >> what motivated them this time. >> for them it is part fulfilling the dreams, the ideals laid so many years ago and still for them like the fight is not over and still bring awareness to issues important to them, racial profiling and ending the school to prison pipeline and the trayvon situation and they want to be part of fulfilling those dreams. >> feels like i don't want to miss this important point we think it will take a year or two
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and obvious the sense of injustice and just a few years we'll get it worked out and the idea that 50 years later you is it i will have bus loads of kids coming from the south facing so many of the same questions and i do think as much as we have a critique of young people not being involved, we also have a responsibility around this issue that no matter how obvious it may seem, that fights against injustice often take more than even a lifetime. >> that's an interesting point. you have to wonder whether any generation, instant gratification, whether we get that. there was a point made earlier this week the internet for all the good that it has done in terms of activism, it has created somewhat of an artificial idea that you can log on and give 10, $15, and that's it. i have been involved. >> and you know, speaking to what happens on the internet, speak about the campaigns and when millions of people signed a petition to force divestment from pepsi and kraft. it was the click of a button.
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we can reconstruct one way or the other. >> the internet is a matter of strategy. you use the phone or the twitter feed to get people to move and even more about not losing the sense of purpose and optimism and courage even when you strike failure. that i think we have maybe been less -- we have done less of a good job in sort of shoring up our young people than you can come up against the barriers and fail and fail but it doesn't mean the whole movement will fail. >> and i was going to say one of the things i think about and what they said so important, a lot of the activism among young african-americans during the 1960s, it was fighting against that backlash against brown v. board of education, the access to the schoolhouse at least as important as the access to the woolworth lunch counter and there was a personal stake in literally not being able to access the thing that could lift you into the middle class. i think for a lot of younger people now what galvanized them is the equally personal stake and the trayvon martin case is
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important and important not just because of this one death but because it ignited i think in a lot of young people the personal stake of not being able to leave your home and not be suspected. it is the same thing racial profiling gal voon eyeses in people and i think one thing that has the kendrick lamar community and join the dream defenders because it is something about something personal to young people and whether they are doing it in activism or physically, they're doing it with the same kind of sense of personal mission. >> let me end with you here really quickly. when you look back on 1963, what you are were marching for then, public education, and specifically, are we where you thought we would be then? >> oh, god, no. oh, god, no. society is cutting back on voting rights. society is going after voting rights instead of enlarging and
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employment is narrowing. no. we're not going anywhere near where i hope we would be. nowhere. >> sylvia lieberman, thank you so much for your time and tremaine lee, thank you for your insight. you're looking at live pictures, washington, d.c., right side of your screen of course, the iconic lincoln memorial and left side of the screen some of the folks who have come from all over this country to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. [ male announcer ] running out of steam?
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scaffolding, you should note that that is the result of earthquake damage here in washington, d.c., still being repaired. mara shive camis standing by wi reverend al sharpton. >> we would work to push this out and he says we don't want to commemorate. i want a continuation. then labor came in and saunders and wooin garden and all of the labor leaders and made it happen just like 50 years ago t shows we can build coalition and a dream and a vision and i think that we have made history today. >> reverend, we don't want to hold up the end of this march here. we will move forward. if i could, representative lewis, can i ask you a question, sir? voting rights has become a huge part of this issue right now. i am moving, sir, i am moving.
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a lot of the voting rights act has fallen to congress. what is the way forward? >> we must mix what the supreme court said we needed to do because as i said before the vote is precious. it is almost sacred. we're not going to let them take it away from us. >> thank you very much, sir. that's going to do it for us. we'll try to grab more people later. >> determined mara there schiavocampo and that being wrapped up at the washington monument and john lewis there and new york morial who runs the national urban league and peter alexander as well. he is along the march route. what is happening now? >> it has been striking what we witnessed over the course of the last hour. it has been about 20 people wide, non-stop for most of the last 50 minutes or so where we're on independence avenue and as we give you a look you can see the crowd only now beginning to thin out and right alongside the martin luther king memorial
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and it was moving just a short time ago as i had a chance to speak to a family with their kids and as they passed a mom looked at her son and said make sure you remember what you are looking at right now. we want to introduce you to some of the people we have had a chance to visit with today. you both came from south carolina today. if you can, as the march is thinning out, what has it meant for you to be a part of this? >> back in '63 i was very young and didn't have the opportunity to actually be a part of this. i do remember the desegregation of schools. i was in the fifth grade. i am telling my age. to be a part of this gives me opportunity to see how far we have gone and how far we have yet to go. >> i want to ask you, andre, about the issue of civil disobedience, to witness this peaceful day, i imagine it says a lot for the community still trying to accomplish so much. >> it does. we recognize civil disobedience is often necessary to bring the attention and awareness to needs
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of the people and masses. i happen to be in briggs v. elliott in summerton, south carolina, preeminent to the brown versus board of education, and so i have that in my blood and also a father of two and i try to teach them the same and for this to continue in our minds and spirits. >> it is a pleasure to visit with both of you. we appreciate it. the march is moving. we have to let you keep going. thank you very much. it has been really a remarkable day, the weather has allowed everybody here to be able to appreciate this sun permitting. it has been hot as i said to a gentleman that waited with me for two hours said are you sure you can handle the sun and he said i am a son of a farm family. i will be just fine today. >> peter alexander, along the route, big thanks to you, sir. 50 years ago a lot of folks don't like to talk about how hot it was then. there were more than 1,300 people treated for heat exhaustion that did not stop
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them then and today as peter indicated it has been a glorious day in terms of weather and all sorts of other reasons. what struck you most today as you heard the speech given. we heard dozens of speeches this morning. which speech stood out most to you? ? and not because he is our colleague but i thought reverend al sharpton gave a moving presentation and i thought it was forward-looking and heartfelt and captured the spirit of the way that movements are articulated by a civil rights leader that also is rooted in the church and one of the things about the original civil rights movement is the two big convening forces were the religious community which martin luther king junior came out of and the labor community, the organizing community which is where ralph antibiotic ebernathr and i thought reverend sharpton did really well. one of the biggest responses was to eric holder, and i think he
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is a part of an administration, so it is an ironic position to be in as a civil rights advocate, but really he has brought that department back to the kind of advocacy that you really think you want the civil rights division to do, and i think that is why people reacted to him. >> it has been very interesting over the past few months to watch eric holder because we have seen him at the national urban league convention and at the naacp convention and here in d.c. two months ago addressing the 100th anniversary of delta sigma theta as well. eric holder made no secret of the fact he wants to make a protecting voting rights specifically part of his legacy long after he leaves the justice department. i would imagine that we are going to see eric holder at lots more gatherings like this as well. >> absolutely. >> more from washington, d.c. right after this. we want to show you more live pictures now because let me tell you, this party does not appear
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to be ending any time soon. folks are hanging out here at the feet of abraham lincoln and sitting on the steps and there is another crowd over in the washington monument and i spent a great deal of time at the mlk memorial this morning and hundreds gathered there and of course throughout the course of the day and you can see folks continuing to march down independence avenue and in our nation's capital on this the day we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. how 'bout we replace old and worn out with beautiful and durable. let's head to the one place with the flooring we want, the know-how we need, and low prices that won't trample our budget. then let's do some simple placing, locking... and admiring. a better-looking floor is just a few steps away. and... they're affordable steps. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. saratoga hickory laminate is a special buy.
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that's the power of german engineering. we're back live from the lincoln memorial on the national mall, washington, d.c., as you can see, the official march starting to wrap up and you can see of course reverend al sharpton and national action network and also a friend and colleague along with jesse jackson and they are praying at the end of the march just like they did 50 years ago. let's listen in. >> we know the hope that is alive in america and grant now to us the determination and dedication to not rest until freedom has been conquered. we thank you for this day and for the leadership that it has provided and the way all of those who sacrificed and the time and for the wonderful sense
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of achievement and bless our leader al sharpton and all of those before him and all of tho he is that shall come after him. may we link together to make a wonderful tapestry of freedom and hope. in our name we pray and ask and everybody said amen. >> amen. >> all right, brother. >> amen. >> mark, mark. >> again, the official march starting to wrap up and that's down near the washington monument and reverend al sharpton, reverend jesse jackson, and a number of bona fide civil rights leaders in this country and reverend sharpton, as he indicated today from the podium as he said earlier this week in an interview wanted to make sure today was not seen as a
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celebration, trymaine lee riding the bus up from florida with the dream defenders group and said he wanted to make sure this was not seen as a celebration. why do you think that? why do you think that? >> i think clearly even though we aare commemorating the 50th anniversary of this march and the speech at this moment in time, there is so much work to do particularly when it comes to social justice issues and racial profiling and the dream defenders honing in on and i think it is important for young people to know this isn't the end or celebration, it is just the beginning and it is the energy they're trying to harness now. >> mara schiavocampo on the route throughout the course of the day and let's check in with her as well. what do you have? we have mara. we'll get back to her in a few moments. she has been out there hustling. i am sure there are technical issues. when we get her back we'll go
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back. live look. i think we have mara. go ahead. we continue to have technical difficulties. we will go back to mara when we are absolutely certain that we have her. we are certain that we have trymaine lee here. i will continue to talk to you. folks aren't leaving. folks are staying. the atmosphere today, you know, really as i said earlier, it has been at times like a church service and times very much like a family reunion as well. >> this is the moment where the grandfather is going to take the grandson. this is where the mother and father are going to take their son and daughter and tell them what this place means and then the symbolic nature and also the fellowship of people coming together for a common cause and the collective sense of feeling and depth. >> 50 years ago they planned
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this thing and just two months they did it out of new york and of course we have heard so much about him and the chief organizer of the march 50 years ago when they planned this, they did not know precisely how many people were going to show up when it was over, a quarter of a million, and at least a quarter million and some have said that may have been a conservative estimate. we don't have any sort of hard figure for today. just eyeballing it, i can tell you tens of thousands, tens of thousands stretched all the way from the feet of the lincoln all the way back to the washington monument as well. you spent time with folks coming up from florida. we have also heard from folks who came from as far away as california. i talked to a guy earlier that said he flew in from california last night because he came 50 years ago and so he wanted to be a part of history the second time. we want to know how you are advancing the dream. snap a picture. tweet that picture with the hashtag advancing the dream and here is mine. did i i did one for you.
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a live look at washington, d.c. and as we continue to watch folks parade through the streets here and as we also watch folks just hanging out at the feet of abraham lincoln. very nice saturday afternoon. i want to bring in my colleague kristin walker not too far from
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here. standing by at the white house. president obama will be speaking and also not too far from here on wednesday, just a few feet away, on the actual 50th anniversary of the "i have a dream" speech and, kristin, i would imagine the president's speech writers have got to be at this particular point walking a very, very thin line in terms of preparing for a speech that a lot of folks will be making that compares between the president and dr. king. >> i think that's right, craig. i spoke to a senior administration official today who told me that president obama is hard at work on this speech as well. we know that he is often engaged particularly when he is delivering a speech of this magnitude. according to one administration official, though, president obama reached out to congressman john lewis a few days ago to get his reflections on the march. of course congressman lewis, the
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last surviving speaker from the march and president obama thought he would not most appropriate person to remember the feelings and capture what it was really like to be there on the ground 50 years ago n terms of the pressure that president obama is feeling right now, which you bring up, craig, the fact that he is speaking in the same place at dr. martin luther king junior, i am told he will not compare and hope other folks won't compare the two speeches. the president believes this is a different speech at a different time and told there is a strong message to young people, a call to action as the president reflects on where the country has come from and where it is going and sort of what challenges lie ahead. there is a working draft and as is typical with this president, craig, it will be a working draft right up until that moment that he delivers it and he continues to work on it. craig. >> kristin walker from the white house for us on this saturday. kristin, thanks to you. >> thank you. >> again here at the washington -- here at the
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lincoln memorial, peter alexander standing by along the march route. what do you have, sir? >> craig, sorry about that. moving around as we try to get a place to talk and i want to introduce you to one of the people from the event today. you can see the march passed and there is still history walking by everywhere you turn today. debra miles was in the front row on that day, august 28th, 1963. this if you can, debra, this is what? >> this is the pennant and commemorates the important day and i am wearing the approximate infrom that day. >> your father, a member of the quaker community was able to be here on that day. >> yes, he was head of the national -- well, he was part of the national council of churches, and because of his quaker background and role in the national council of churches, we came and we had front row seats and we weren't in the immediate circle. >> i am curious in a few words what images come to mind as you
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remember staring up at dr. martin luther king on that day. >> it was interesting staring back at the reflecting pool and the sea of humanity was amazing, a blue sky, cloudless, and my father got up to take pictures and the memory i have of what his memory was was that as he watched the action, it was as if the arms of lincoln were reaching out to embrace martin luther king. he was very touched by that. it was a really poignant moment for him. >> touched by you spending a moment with us. we have seen a lot of unique paraphernalia as it were today. this piece of history is really special. >> i haven't seen this one today. >> we have not either until now. thank you very much. >> thank you. thank you. my honor. >> reporter: craig, we'll toss it back to you. >> what a markable story, peter. thank you so much. we're going to take a quick break. i see former mayor of atlanta, former u.n. ambassador, bona fide civil rights icon, one of the men that helped lead the
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movement, andrew young, will join me on the other side of the break and we'll spend time talking to dr. maya angelou. more, live from washington, d.c., as we continue to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. stay with us. [ male announcer ] this is jim, a man who doesn't stand still. but jim has afib, atrial fibrillation -- an irregular heartbeat, not caused by a heart valve problem. that puts jim at a greater risk of stroke. for years, jim's medicine tied him
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the feet of abraham lincoln in washington, d.c., a live look at the lincoln memorial on the mall and tens of thousands gathered from all over the country to mark the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. good saturday to you, everybody, i am craig melvin coming to you live from the feet of the lincoln memorial marching along with dr. king on that historic day in 1963 a man named andrew young, former congressman, u.n. ambassador, atlanta mayor, and friend of dr. king honored to have him join me now. good to he so you, sir. you of course joined the southern christian leadership conference in atlanta, 1960. what was the movement like in those early days? >> the movement really was just an idea. it was an idea that had popped up really spontaneously with a group of students in the
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sit-ins, and of course martin had been leader of the montgomery bus boycott since 1955 and everything that happened between '55 and '63 had been prepared at howard university and yale pennsylvania and georgetown and there was a legal framework that had been developed for the desegregation of america and to challenge the segregation laws under the edikts of the 14th amend am. we had an agenda. i say that because martin accepted the responsibility and chose the slogan for slcc to redeem from the triple evils of racism, war and poverty. his speech really was not about the dream. his speech was about poverty.
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in the beginning of the speech that nobody remembers, he woef into the no he is that the constitution was a promissory note, and that remained unfulfilled, and that gradually people did not include women and it does not include children and did not include ex slaves, but we were fulfilling that constitutional mandate that all men are endowed by the creator with certain unalienable rights. >> you mentioned the legal framework and in the '50s and the '60s, the movement needed lawyers, needed armies of attorneys. >> we did. >> what does the movement need now? >> economists. >> no, no, that you really, i mean, several things have happened since dr. king's death that he was not aware of. one, the whole framework of the new deal, the great society, the marshal plan, eisenhower's
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infrastructure development of highways, all of this was general consensus amongst americans as late as 1970, but then they began to peel away at it, and i was in congress in the ba banking committee when they decided to break up the international economy. we had some agreements at brenton woods in new hampshire from 1944 that had kept the world stable from 1944 to 1974. they ended those agreements and the price of oil was $2.50, and i said to the head of the federal reserve, if you don't have the dollar anchored to something, aren't people going to play politics with our currencies? he looked at me and he said, young man, you soon learn that the dollar doesn't need to you defend it.
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now, the problem is that three months later oil was $30 a barrel and ten months later $60 a barrel and we left a gold standard and went on oil standard and have had a growing economy but when you add that to the internet and the fact that people can transfer money electronically, there is almost no way to manage a single nation's economy without bringing some global order to what is going on. >> let's go back to the movement. there was a lot of anticipation, even from president kennedy at the time, that such a large gathering of black people and the nation's capital would inevitably turn violent and the streets that day i understand virtually empty in terms of no rush hour traffic, businesses shut down, and marchers of course defied that.
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why do you think there was such an anticipation of violence when dr. king himself had been such a staunch advocate of non-violence? >> well, it was fear and guilt. the people like j. edgar hoover had always felt that we would -- if given the opportunity we would treat them like we had been treated. that never was the case. that is one of the things about non-violence social change that we want to redeem the soul of america. we don't want to get even. we want to bring people together economically and socially. this movement was never about black people alone. it was black people in the south that suffered the most but what we saw here 50 years ago was we saw the movement becoming black and white and northern and southern and protestant, catholic, jew, and martin's
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speech reached out all over the world because the constitution says we are endowed by the creator, not by our government. >> did you know then as you were listening to that speech 50 years ago, because a lot of folks don't realize that the "washington post" the next day, that speech was not front page news. it was barely mentioned. that was not the only publication where that was the case. did you know they know as dr. king was giving that speech what an important part of america's history it would become? >> well, it really wasn't just the speech. he made the speech in detroit before. >> yeah. >> it was the speech and the context of i agree with john lewis. we probablyr to a million than a quarter million but it was the masses of people that came from every sector of society that made that dream significant because it was not a black dream. it was a dream for the fulfillment of the american
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constitution for all americans but also heard in south africa and heard behind the iron curtain and heard in china, and latin america and so in the '70s was a civil rights upheaval, human rights upheaval all over the world. >> i spent time last week in birmingham, alabama, with the mayor of birmingham. i was down there for a series of reports and the mayor of birmingham said something to me and i want to bring it up to you and i don't want to step on toes here. he said if the civil rights movement, if the civil rights movement itself were human body, and atlanta may have been the head, but birmingham was the heart, and in the decades that followed the movement, birmingham got the shaft in a lot of ways it did not reap a lot of the benefits of the movement so to speak. >> i agree with the first part. clearly fred shuttlesworth, i went to fred shuttlesworth's
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church last december, december 17th, and i forgot why i was going. his wife called and said this is the anniversary of the third time fred church has been bombed. fred's church had been bombed three times in two years. there were 60 bombings of homes. there was a black youth castrated, a policeman pistol whipped one of his members, and just going into city hall to get a wedding license, marriage license, and birmingham was a ruthless and brutal place, and frankly, atlanta wasn't that way. we had already started on the path of desegregation and atlanta already made a commitment to be a city too busy to hate. >> yes. >> we had the luxury of being able to think a little bit and rest but fred had been under
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pressure since the '50s, and he loved it. i never would have thought he would have lived, but he lived until a few years ago to almost 90. >> do you have some time? i have to take a quick break. i don't want to you go anywhere. >> okay. >> andrew young will stand by, ambassador andrew young will stand by for us throughout the hour hopefully. i want to go back to the march are mara has been standing by all day. how goes it out there? >> reporter: just wrapping up now and it was a very successful event by any measure. that march was led of course by virtually every living civil rights figure of our time, reverend al sharpton who was one of the organizers, jesse jackson, marc morial of the national urban league and a number of legislators and lewis
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and representative pe loes and i the parents of trayvon martin, sybrina fulton and tracy martin. the crowd here, the turnout was really large. we don't have official estimates at this time. it was certainly tens of thousands if not exceeding 100,000 and so the turnout here was quite impressive. that march made its way down part of the length of the national mall from the lincoln memorial to the washington monument where we are now and passed on the way the martin luther king memorial which of course was not here 50 years ago, just dedicated two years ago and is the only memorial on the national mall to a non-president, and today of course that took on extra significance, gave people a moment to pause and reflect on the significance of that statue here on the mall. i had a chance to week with reverend sharpton and representative lewis about this event, about what they want from it and the key thing that both of them said was voting rights. this isn't just about commemorating an anniversary. this he have specific action points that they hope will come
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out of this and number one on their agenda list is making sure that voters rights are protected and of course they cite the recent supreme court rulings as a major setback in that fight. one thing i found interesting early today i spoke to a woman that had been here 50 years ago and brought with her the program from that event, and inside the program were all the demands at that time and so it was interesting to go through them and take note of the things which had been accomplished, for example, desegregation of schools and then look at the things that had not, like unemployment, one of the demands was to make sure that all unemployed persons, white and black, were brought into the labor force and another was minimum wage and they were asking for a living minimum wage at the time they wanted it to be above $2, and of course now that would be much higher and you still hear the calls for a living minimum wage at this time. it gives you a little perspective into what we accomplished over the last 50 years and what a lot of folks say still needs to be done. craig. >> mara schiavocampo,
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perspective indeed. thank you so much. are you watching msnbc's special coverage of the anniversary of the march on washington. much more ahead this hour here on msnbc. "stubborn love" by the lumineers did you get my email? i did. so what did you think of the house? did you see the school ratings? oh, you're right. hey babe, i got to go. bye daddy! have a good day at school, ok? ...but what about when my parents visit?
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we're still live here at the lincoln memorial 50 years after some 250,000 americans marched for the jobs and along with dr. martin luther king junior. i stumbled because i said 250,000. just a few moments ago andrew young corrected that figure. he said he was here that day. that was a conservative estimate. he said there were probably at least a half million people.
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author maya angelou was a colleague of dr. king's at the southern christian leadership conference, a bona fide american institution and joins us now via telephone. dr. angelou, so honored to have you with us. >> thank you very much. i am delighted to be with you. i love you to speak a little louder. >> okay. you know what, for you, i will almost yell. dr. angelou. dr. king asked to you serve as the northern coordinator i understand for the sclc. when you look back on those days of the civil rights movement, what do you think its biggest accomplishment was >>caller: so much. two centuries of history in a matter of three years and the civil rights movement. we went through about two centuries of history. the title i had southern christian coordinator, the
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southern christian leadership conference, was an honorarium really because the truth was i was a fundraiser. it makes me sound very important. the other title, but it was a fundraiser which was very important for the movement in that time. >> today, dr. angelou, thousands turned out to remember dr. king while remembering his legacy. what challenges remain to ensure that civil rights gains are not lost as our country moves forward? >> mr. melvin, i want to do the right thing. i want to stand on the right foot. when i meet my creator, that he or she, or maybe speaking in spanish, i don't know, would say you have done well. i sent to you do something, and you have done well.
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i have tried to do and still try to do the right thing. that means to take responsibility for the time i take up and the space i occupy. it means to be ready to defend the rights of human beings anywhere they are asailed. all human beings. i happen to be african-american and 6 foot tall and black and female, so my charge may be quite a bit larger than other people's charges at this time, but as it is, i like myself. i can look in the mirror when i brush my teeth and say you are doing pretty good. i think that's what is asked of me. i think that is asked of each one of us. i like the statement that in evil times, times of evil, only when good people don't do anything to make them better.
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>> you worked with malcolm x at the organization of african-american unity. after his assassination you went to work with dr. king. talk to us about these two men and their different approaches. >> you know, mr. melvin, the approaches were very similar in that they really wanted to do the best for everybody. i had met minister shabaz years before and i lived in ghana and when he came to ghana, he stopped at mecca and, he came to ghana and said to me and the other african-americans residents there, he said, i want to say to the world i was wrong. i thought that all white people were blue eyed devils. he said i met white men at mecca who had blue eyes and blonde hair and with whom i am happy to call brother obviously racism is
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racism and i won't have it. i won't be a part of it. it is a great step for a man so adamantly against all whites and martin luther king seeing that he wanted me to come back to work with him one day, i am sorry, one month, because he wanted to keep the people's march on washington in washington until legislature could be changed. he said this is not a black people's march. it is poor people. black, white, spanish speaking, native american, all poor people and so this is -- i am willing to sacrifice myself for all of us, anyone who is being treated ill, ignored, and in fact abused, so they were very much alike.
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i never hear anyone who really knew him and there are people like jesse jackson and john lewis and many, many men and women who knew him, very few people speak about their humor. martin was one of the funniest men and malcolm x would make you life when you were in the middle of crying. they could say something, turn a phrase, and suddenly you were gafawing, so i like the fact they were men and human beings and we have to say that so young people coming along would say you mean to tell me with the lives and deaths of martin luther king and malcolm x and the kennedys and these and that and there has been no change? you have to say yes there has been change. we have seen change.
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we see a black man and a black family with a grandmother, a black grandmother in the white house. there have been changes. not enough. not nearly enough. we have to stand up and be counted on. we have to do it to make our country more than it is today, more than what james brolin calls these yet to be united states. >> poet, author, national treasure, maya angelou and before i let you go there is a man named andrew young sitting next to me who just wanted to say hello. >> i just to want say how much i love you. >> he is my darling. he is my darling. he is one of those who has never let us for get martin luther king or malcolm x are the real reason we come out to the malls and the same reason we come out in north carolina and to signify any that we still want freedom. we still want fair play for
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everybody, the poor white in appalachia and the poor blacks and the poor asian and hispanic speaking and native american and the gay and the straight, we still want it. we're willing to stand up and be counted. i love you, andrew young, and you know it. >> i love you. you are a phenomenal woman, you. >> and we love you both. >> caller: >> only one speaker from 1963, just one speak from her that march 50 years ago was here to speak today, john lewis rallied the crowd on the national mall just a few hours ago and although the goals may be different this time around, lewis' demand for action was not. here is the impassioned u.s. representative now and then. >> i am not going to stand by and let the supreme court take the right to vote away from us.
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[ applause ] you can not stand by. you cannot sit down. you have to stand up, speak up, speak out, and get in the way. make some noise. >> our demands, our determination, and our members, we shall stand and 1 u tho pieces and put them together in the image of god and democracy. we must say wake up, america, wake up, for we cannot stop and we will not. >> you are watching msnbc and we'll be right back. ooh! i love that just washed freshness, but then it goes to your die. so do what i do -- try new glow unstopables in-wash scent boosters. toss them in before the wash,
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folking continue to linger around the washington monument and the lincoln memorial and the reflective pool here as well. lots of folks still out commemorating the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. lots more of our special coverage right after this. when you realize you need to switch to verizon, it's a reality check. i had my reality check when i'd be sitting there with my friends who had their verizon phones and i'd be sitting there like "mine's still loading!" i couldn't get email. i couldn't stream movies. i couldn't upload any of our music. that's when i decided to switch. now that i'm on verizon, everything moves fast. with verizon, i have that reliability. i'm completely happy with verizon. verizon's 4g lte is the most reliable and in more places than any other 4g network. period. that's powerful. verizon. get the nokia lumia 928 for free. playtime is so much more with a superhero by your side. because even superheroes need superheroes.
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we ain't going to let nobody turn us around. we are going to keep walking. we're going to keep on talking. we're going to keep on voting. we're going to keep on job building. we're going to keep on educating. we're going to keep on mentoring. we're going to keep on community building. we're going to keep on ending violence. we're going to keep on creating peace. we ain't going to let nobody turn us around. >> he is his father's son, is he not? where does the civil rights movement stand today? the nation elected a black
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president twice. this year the racial divide in america seems wider than it has ever been to a lot of folks. the supreme court in june struck down key portions of the landmark voting rights act and george zimmerman that shot and killed trayvon martin on a florida street walking free in new york city. more than 4 million people stopped and frisked by police, 88% of them african-americans and back with us now former congressman and ambassador as well andrew young and president and ceo of the ncaa and sharon ifle is also here and alisha brooks f, director of the civil rights memorial center in montgomery, alabama and director of outreach at the southern poverty law center. a pbig thanks to all of you for sticking around. when you look at the gains made over the past 50 years or so, what do you make of the events over the past year in relationship to those gains? >> well, you know, i think it is
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a bit sad in a way that here we can be 50 years hence and while so much has changed, so much seems the same. i mean, 50 years ago was the killing of a rather young black man that pushed so many people here, both to mourn and to commit themselves to make sure that he did not die in vain and here we are 50 years later and trayvon martin's family and his death and the movement playing a similar role. then 50 years ago we were fighting to protect our right to vote and now we are doing that again. what is different about these times and two things. we are further from slavery. we are beyond segregation. we have made real victories and there are some things that cannot be rolled back. the other thing is that it is easier to organize now than it was then. this week i will be turning in
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1.7 million signatures to the u.s. department of justice calling for them to finally file civil rights charges against george zimmerman. >> what do you think the likelihood is that -- >> i think they are doing exactly what they should be doing which is investigating and digging down deep, and i think that it is a real possibility, but almost a half million of these poem signed using cell phones, and so so our young people have been baptized. and somebody 234 our generation will say rodney king and just kind of slip t seems unfortunately every generation gets baptized. they say every generation has to win it and rewin it again. that et cetera what we're doing right now. >> sterling, ben jealous alluded
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to what you have spend a great deal of time over the past few months working on, voting rights in this country, of course the supreme court in june struck down a key provision of the voting rights act of 1965. update our viewers. update the folks still here as well listening to our broadcast here on the national mall where these new laws stand right now and what kind of impact they will have, not just on minority communities as well. we spend a lot of time talking about the fact that minority communities but we're not just talking about black and brown people here. >> you know, the supreme court issued its decision in late june striking down a key provision that removed what had been a protection in place for 48 years and stopped jurisdictions all over this country from implementing changes that may negatively affect minority voters and language minorities and required them to get permission. in the stroke of one pen and one decision the five member majority removed that
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protection. we learned within hours of the decision all over the country officials decided they would impose voter suppression members they had not been able to impose before. the attorney general of texas tweeted two hours after the decision he would implement the voter i.d. law that we the naacp had stopped last year. that's the voter i.d. law that doesn't let students use student identification to vote. if you have a concealed gun carry permit you can use that so he tweeted that and the state, secretary of state of florida said we're free and clear now. we have seen what happened in north carolina, just a few weeks ago, and when that state passed the most restrictive voter suppression legislation we have ever seen. we have to step up now. we are stepping up. the civil rights are litigating and filing suits and congress also has to step up. they have the power to amend the voting rights act in response to the supreme court's decision to ensure that voters all over this country are protected. to your point about it not being
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minority, i remind people all the time over 60% of the people that don't have a government issued photo i.d. in north carolina are women. >> yes. >> and i want you to stick around because i want to pose a specific question. there has been a great deal of talk about this year's march and the movement today and not just being about jobs and not just being about poverty but being about a woman's right to choose. being about same sex marriage. and being about a number of other issues as well. do you see it as that has the movement evolved or has it been co-opted? >> no. the movement really was always about jobs and freedom. i mean, he made in bones about the fact he was gay. he was the organizer of the march. we didn't dally in those kind of foolish things. we accepted people as they were, as dr. king said, on the content of their character, not on the
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color of their skin or any of the other divisions, but what we're dealing with now is not just america. america has got to lead the world and the best things that ever happened to america not from our point of view was that so many of us were brought here. they are not the least bit prepared to deal with egypt. we have been floundering -- i mean, the global economy is falling apart. it is going to implode unless some of the young people who are here get pulled into the corporations and get pulled into the state craft and the economic development of the world. everything that happens anywhere in the world affects us everywhere. >> a leash a i want to make sure i get you in here. you of course responsible essentially for preserving the history of the civil rights movement. what can we learn from the past
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as we move forward as a country? >> we can learn that people, ordinary people, regular, every day people like reverend george lee who fought for voting rights in 1955 in a town called bell zony, mississippi, william moore, a postman from maryland that walked a letter, was walking with a letter to the governor that was murdered, viola, a mother of five, people, regular people, not just the iconic leading we remember but regular people tired of the foot of oppression on their back and stood up and said no, they made the difference. they made this 50th anniversary of the march on washington possible, and i think it is important to remember the sacrifices they made. the southern poverty law center, in fact, was founded to ensure that the promises of that movement would be a reality, become a reality for every
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person, and so we want to be inspired today by those who came before us. and as congressman lewis said and the clip that you played a little bit ago, that we have got to continue to stand up. we have to continue to demand justice. fredrick douglas says power concedes nothing without a struggle, and certainly the civil rights movement is an example of a struggle by the people. >> civil rights legend andrew young, thank you to you, ben jealous, president of the naacp, big thanks to you and cher lynn, always enjoy having you and lecia brooks from the civil rights memorial center in montgomery, alabama, big thanks to you as well and we'll look at the evolution of the civil rights movement. andrew young just alluded to it. we'll talk about it more. 50 years after the march on washington and it is no longer just, no longer just black and white. you're watching msc special
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welcome back to msnbc's special coverage of the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. hundreds of the tens of thousands who are assembled here today have decided to stick around, what was at times a church service and other times a family reunion has turned into -- it has turned into essentially a party here on the national mall on a saturday afternoon. welcome back, tens of thousands retrace the steps taken by some 300,000 roughly and made their way down independence avenue and passed the mlk memorial and stopped at the washington
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monument. the brain trust is with us here, all live, all on set, lecia moody mills and the adviser for racial policy and always good to see you and angela rise here and principle of impact strategies and long time big wig at the congressional black caucus and reverend mcarthur, good to see you, director of faith and partnership and mobilization for the human rights campaign, reverend, thank you so much for being with us as well. enjoyed your comments earlier. i want to pick up on where we left off for the last panel and we were talking about what the movement itself has become. what the march today represented, how different it was this year versus five decades ago and the movement now encompasses lots of different groups. >> uh-huh. it absolutely does. i am glad that we're talking about it as the movement and not a bunch of disjointed allies coming together in solidarity.
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i think with reseeing a collective movement now for the first time which is really huge that you have lgbt people who are actually speaking at this march and not doing it because they're talking about lgbt rights in their own bubble, they're doing it because the lgbt rights are part of our civil rights conversation. >> reverend, i want to come to you. so much has been made and you just heard about the role in organizing the movement and organizing the march 50 years ago and a lot made of the evolution of the movement. are you surprised at how quickly black people in general have started to come around if you will on same sex marriage rights in this country? >> i think black people, latino people, disenfranchised people understand what's at stake. this is not just about lgbt equality but it is as i eesh aspoke about, solidarity to address a number of issues. no longer can we afford the luxury of living in silos.
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with very to work in coalition. sometimes that's uncomfortable. i think people understand there is more that we have in common we have more at stake working together. >> as the civil rights movement broadens out and starts to include other groups and starts to include other causes as well, does the issue of poverty, does the issue of jobs, do certainly issues become diluted? >> i don't think they become diluted. i think that we have to remember just as you said we're stronger together, you know, in unity. if we stand in unity with our latino brothers and sisters and other folk from immigrant families and backgrounds, we're stronger together f we stant together with people who may be low income, under employed or unemployed, we're stronger together, so we really have to learn the importance of what refu reverend jackson did with the
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rainbow coalition. >> can i come back to the issues. you hit on economic justice which is so critical. i wrote an article about why it is an lgbt quality issue if you look at the core of every policy issue that we're trying to move today, be it employment protections, marriage equality, even school climate and bullying, the imperative is on create an economic climate so everyone in this country can thrive and that's at the core of this, like angela said, a shared value among all of our different iers >> earlier on the broadcast, i don't remember who it was but a few hours ago someone made the point one of the reasons the lgbt community has been as successful as it has been in terms of organizing fundraising and effecting change over the past few years is because they really ripped a lot of the pages right out of the handbook of the civil rights movement. >> inspiration, absolutely. when you have tools that are proven to work, you certainly
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duplicate and use those and one point that i want to add is that we're living in the 21st century and our struggles are different. the battleground that we're fighting, the civil rights struggle is different. it is really important we get online and digitize and incorporate tools that are going to reflect where we are today and new strategies to move us forward. >> i would bid on that and i think it is important we understand that lgbt people were always part of the civil rights movement. >> yes. >> and rusten was the key strategist. the motion that now this is separate or new, that in and of itself is an invalid assumption. >> very interesting. i have heard more people talk beabout rusten today than ever d it is good to see and hear him get his due for all the work he did. i want to get owl of your perspective. i saw you. you spent a lot of the day taking pictures. >> yes. caught up in the moment. >> i think it is very easy i think sometimes to for get when you are covering history that you are also part of history and
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you do have a front row seat to some pretty amazing stuff. that was not lost on me today. what was of all the speeches today that you saw, all the people that you saw, all the moments that you witnessed, what struck you most? >> reverend al tore it down. he tore it down, and the thing that really resonated with me is that in his remarks he made the point that we all have shared issues that we need to work towards and this is not about having white folks or lgbt community for that matter standing in solidarity with african-americans. the reality is if we don't have voting rights, then the new american majority that's most likely to vote to support progressive issues that support african-american ideal are the ones being suppressed in going to the polls. voting rights is all of our issue. it is not something distinct other groups ally with. that was the thing that resonated with me, this collectivism. >> reverend, how about you? >> for me it was the notion of being present. i could not get past the fact
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that i as a black gay man who happens to be the father of five children and ordained member of the clerj sigh standing in this place at this point in time and i am clergy, am standing in this place at this time. and i'm very aware that it has to do with the sacrifices of people that knew nothing about me, but knew that the day would come that i would with here. and i couldn't shake that feeling that today was a spiritual feeling, for me and many others. >> i think for me, it was stalking to people who look just like me, and some who did not, but still felt like today was a call to action. it wasn't the action. it's a means to an end. like, we have to utilize today as a platform to continue the movement towards justice, whether that's gun safety, whether that's immigration reform, whether that's the resurgence of civil rights because we've been dialed back a just a little bit from the supreme court decisions and watching what happened with the george zimmerman verdict. folks get together today and said, this is just going to be a figurative representation of what we hope to do in the days
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to come. >> aisha moodie-mills, angela ry, impact strategies, and reverend macarthur from the florida human rights campaign, thank you all for being with me today and thanks for spendi ini for spending so much time here in our network's capital. the networks of nbc universal are giving people another way to commemorate this historic week in time. stories and personal accounts from some of the most prominent civil rights leaders in the country are all together in one interactive site. a view into history like never before. you can share your own stories there as we. go to or you can watch it on xfinity on demand. in your busy day,
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and welcome back to our nation's capital. folks just won't go home.
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they just won't leave. the march wrapped up some time ago, and as you can see, lots of folks have stuck around here at the field of lincoln memorial. his reggie smith, came up from atlanta, and you were here 50 years ago. >> i was here 50 years ago, my father brought me. but i'm glad to be here today and i thought it was a great time. i would have liked to have heard more about using economic means as a way to break down the democracy, because it's gotten conflated. democracy and capitalism are inflated, so as an hiv-positive man living with a wife who for the last 25 years has remained hiv negative, i would like to hear more about health as well, and make sure that the president's initiative around the affordable health care and the president's wife around let's move, those are the kind of things that will help us participate in all survival, or else we'll be complicit in our
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own demise. >> how old are you? >> i'm 11. >> and where are you from? >> i'm from virginia. >> what part? >> fairfax. >> northern virginia. what brought you out today? >> i just wanted to know more about the history and it's very fun. i'm enjoying myself here. >> what did you learn today? not to put you on the spot. i know school probably hasn't started yet. >> well, i learned more about martin loouther king jr., and well, yeah, that's it. >> that's not it, that's a whole lot. so very nice to meet you. so thanks for coming out. i want to make sure i get down here as well. what's your name again? >> olived strickland. >> where are you from? >> from northern virginia. >> what brought you out today? >> i wanted to know more about the martin luther king history. i was only 2 when the march and he spoke before, so i was just interested and adamant today to get out. >> was it everything you thought
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it would be today? >> yes, it was. african-american women have come a long way. and i wanted to represent today. >> thank you so much, represent, you did a big thanks to all of you. thanks so much for being here. and a big thanks as well for sticking around with us this afternoon. as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march on washington, we're not done yet, though! karen finney is standing by. disrupters, don't go anywhere. right now, 7 years of music is being streamed. a quarter million tweeters are tweeting. and 900 million dollars are changing hands online. that's why hp built a new kind of server. one that's 80% smaller. uses 89% less energy. and costs 77% less. it's called hp moonshot. and it's giving the internet the room it needs to grow. this&is gonna be big. hp moonshot. it's time to build a better enterprise. together.
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